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Tobacco control policies and activities in Aboriginal community-controlled health services

Aboriginal community-controlled health services (ACCHSs) have long recognised tobacco use as an important contributor to poor health outcomes in their communities,1 and have worked to reduce this burden with a range of tobacco control initiatives. The ACCHS sector includes about 150 health services across Australia, each governed and managed by its local Aboriginal community, as well as representative state or territory organisations (Affiliates) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

In 2001, NACCHO surveyed 67 staff from Aboriginal health services, 124 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members from 13 locations, and 76 health services with predominantly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.2 The survey identified high levels of knowledge about the harmful health effects of tobacco, a lack of specific tobacco control programs and the need for more information on effective stop-smoking interventions. The report recommended that governments prioritise and fund tobacco control through policies that deal with social determinants of smoking, workforce training, comprehensive long-term programs to reduce smoking, and ongoing evaluation. For ACCHSs, the report recommended making tobacco control a specific priority and integrating it into health service programs.

Since 2001, specific tobacco control programs have…