The Cancer Council of Queensland is targeting Aboriginal smokers in a new campaign aimed at addressing the growing number of smokers in regional and rural areas.
By
David Liddle

Source:
NITV News
30 Jan 2014 - 5:52 PM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2014 - 9:18 AM

The Council said smoking rates in regional and remote parts of Queensland are up to 70 per cent higher than in urban and metropolitan areas,

With a large Murri population living in the bush, Aboriginal smokers make up a large portion of this number.

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the rates were alarming.

"We know for Indigenous adults, they're twice as likely to smoke as non-Indigenous Queensland adults, so the burden of smoking on those communities is far higher," she said.

"We do know that lung cancer is the number-one cancer killer among Indigenous Queenslanders so it's important for us to have culturally appropriate programs and the right local support for Indigenous Queenslanders to help them quit."

Regions most affected include the Fraser Coast, Charters Towers, Longreach and Logan.

Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council CEO Selwyn Button said he was optimistic the smoking rates would drop with targeted campaigns.

"What I would expect to see is that over the next three to five years, we'll start to see even more decline in the numbers of smoking rates across the country - purely because there's active interventions involved," he said.

"There are teams out there working with communities and there's a whole range of marketing and campaign material that's actually addressing the issue in our communities."

Ms Clift said The Cancer Council was also concerned about the number of pregnant Aboriginal women lighting up.

"We know that about 53 per cent of Queensland Indigenous women who are pregnant smoke during their pregnancy. It's a very, very high percentage and far higher than non-Indigenous Queensland women at about 15 per cent," she said.