WSLHD supports Indigenous people to butt out this World No Tobacco Day

Community member Robert Fitzpatrick with WSLHD senior health promotion officer Dr Kate Kennett

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has worked with Indigenous people in western Sydney today to encourage them to quit smoking, as the district continues to battle high Indigenous smoking rates.

Smoking rates in parts of western Sydney, particularly Mount Druitt, are some of the highest in Sydney at 30%, compared to the NSW state average of 15%.

In 2014, 37.3 per cent of Aboriginal adults across NSW smoked – more than double the state average.

This World No Tobacco Day (May 31), WSLHD partnered with Marrin Weejali Aboriginal Corporation in Mount Druitt, to host a quit smoking event, designed to offer practical assistance and support to people keen to butt out.

Local pharmacist Emerton Pharmacy offered free nicotine replacement therapy, while professional support was also on-hand, with Aboriginal smoking care advisors available to answer questions about quitting smoking.

WSLHD’s tobacco control co-ordinator Dr Kate Kennett said the event was designed to help people either start or progress their quit journey.

“We know there are still many people in our LHD who smoke and really want to give up,” she said.

“This community event aimed to give people the chance to reach out and get support, or try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which can improve a person’s chances of quitting by 50 to 70%.

“Getting individual or group support is also critical – we know people have a much greater chance of quitting smoking if they contact NSW Quitline, undertake individual counselling or attend a quit smoking group.”

Dr Kennett said the best thing people could do for their health and the health of others was to quit.

“There are so many health benefits of quitting – after just 20 minutes without a cigarette, your heart rate decreases; after two weeks, the risk of heart attack begins to reduce and after a year, your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half,” she said.

For support to quit smoking, contact the Quitline on 137 848. Aboriginal counsellors are available.

Personal quit smoking support advice is also available from Aboriginal smoking care advisers at Marrin Weejali Aboriginal Corporation, Mount Druitt Community Health Centre and the Aboriginal Maternal & Infant Health Service.

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