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Smoking-related knowledge and health risk beliefs in a national sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Fifty years since the United States Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health, smoking prevalence has reduced globally,1 in part due to increased public awareness that smoking causes death and disease.2,3 However, it is possible that gaps in knowledge are contributing to health inequalities.4,5 In Australia, the prevalence of daily smoking has declined to just over 16% among adults but is higher in disadvantaged populations.6 Among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, 42% of people aged 15 years or older smoked daily in 2012–2013.7 Understanding and tackling the causes of this disparity is a public health priority accepted by all Australian governments.8

Communicating information about the harmful effects of tobacco use is a major focus of programs to reduce smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.9 Some evidence suggests that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease,1012 and that second-hand smoke (SHS)…