Smokecheck Encourages Smoke-free Lifestyles

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30th October 2009, 03:56pm - Views: 1049
SmokeCheck encourages smoke-free lifestyles

Over the past 12 months Queensland Health has trained more than 240 health workers across the State to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people take up smoke-free lifestyles.

Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Branch's director of prevention programs Mark West said SmokeCheck is a unique program delivered by health workers to identify, encourage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who smoke tobacco to make positive, healthy behaviour changes.

"SmokeCheck enables Indigenous health workers make the most of every opportunity to raise awareness and help smokers stop or reduce their smoking," he said.

"They also strongly encourage them not to smoke around children, family and friends.

"SmokeCheck was originally developed by Queensland Health with North Queensland Indigenous communities as a strategy to help bring down smoking rates, but has since been rolled out as a state-wide program due to its success."

Mark West said more than 50 per cent of Indigenous people smoke tobacco, compared with 17 per cent of all Queenslanders aged 14 years and over.

"Indigenous people also begin smoking at a younger age and are less likely to successfully quit smoking than non-Indigenous people.

"Furthermore, while smoking rates in the general population have declined in the past 20 years, they have not in Indigenous populations. It's important to close this gap," he said.

Since 2005, more than 1,000 health workers from government and non-government agencies across Queensland have been trained in using SmokeCheck.

"Assessing a client's `stage of change' and using `motivational interviewing' techniques are important aspects of SmokeCheck.

"Our evaluations have shown that SmokeCheck is effective. The program is culturally appropriate, builds health worker skills in delivering brief intervention, and supports positive and healthy behaviour changes.

"Clients in urban, regional and remote communities have reported significant reductions in daily cigarette intake," Mark West said.

"They cite an increased number of quit smoking attempts; reduced nicotine dependence; increased client motivation to change; improved readiness to change; and increased awareness of the adverse health effects of smoking.

"Health workers from across the state have reported increased skills in delivering brief intervention; increased confidence in discussing smoking with clients; increased self-efficacy; and increased role legitimacy," he said.

"SmokeCheck offers specialist training to all health workers with Indigenous clients and patients. The training provides an opportunity for workers to gain knowledge and skills that are important in delivering brief intervention and motivational interviewing. These skills are transferable to other areas of their clinical work.

"Our Queensland Health's SmokeCheck team also provides ongoing post-training support, culturally appropriate printed resources and a regular newsletter," he said.

Queensland Health provides two levels of SmokeCheck training initial full-day small group training, and a two-hour refresher self-directed or group training.

Media contact:
Anna Caldwell
3234 1135

SOURCE: Queensland Health

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