Patsy Nagas, of Kyogle, is encouraging indigenous people to heed the quit smoking message in the national Break the Chain campaign. Ms Nagas has been a smoker for 20 years. Cathy Adams
Patsy Nagas, of Kyogle, is encouraging indigenous people to heed the quit smoking message in the national Break the Chain campaign. Ms Nagas has been a smoker for 20 years. Cathy Adams

Campaign helps Aboriginal smokers

A NEW advertising campaign targeting the one-in-two indigenous Australians who smoke has been launched by the Federal Government.

Called Break the Chain, the campaign is the first to specifically target indigenous Australians.

One-in-five indigenous Australians will die from a smoking-related disease.

“Forty-seven per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population smoke compared to around 17% of the general population,” Federal Minister for Indigen-ous Health Warren Snowdon said.

The advertisements emphasise the impact of smoking on family and kin, and especially children, rather than on the health of the individual.

Patsy Nagas, of Kyogle, has been a smoker for about 20 years.

Many of her family and friends have died young from smoking-related diseases. She has tried nicotine patches and lozenges in her attempts to give up, but has been unsuccessful to date.

She said that tobacco smoking had become a social norm in indigenous communities in the past because it was provided with rations and as payment for work.

Ms Nagas needs a kidney trans- plant but has to give up cigarettes before she can be placed on the waiting list to receive a donor organ.

“I have to give up smoking to live a longer life and to do things with my grandchildren,” she said.

Ms Nagas welcomes the new campaign, but said indigenous educators needed to be involved in awareness campaigns otherwise the messages “don't sink in” for indigenous Australians.

“To just say ‘don't smoke' is not enough. We also need to be told why we shouldn't smoke,” she said.


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