Treatment and support

There are various ways to help people to give up smoking, which have different levels of effectiveness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The main three ways are:

  • nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
  • brief intervention
  • counselling [28389][23053].

NRT aims to help the transition between smoking and quitting by providing the body with smaller and more controlled doses of nicotine. Doing this helps to reduce the body’s craving for nicotine. NRT comes in a few different forms including: patches; gum; lozenges; mouth sprays; and inhalers. There are also some forms of medication which can help people to quit. These include: Varenicline (Champix); and bupropion (Zyban).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are eligible for a subsidy on some NRT products via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) [23503]. Please see the Pharmacotherapies section in the Harm Reduction portal for more information on NRT.

Brief intervention uses counselling skills such as motivational interviewing and goal setting to raise awareness, share knowledge, and get someone to think about making changes to improve their health and behaviours  [23503].

Counselling can be offered one-to-one or as part of a group, and offers a support mechanism for people who might be struggling to give up the smokes.

is a confidential, free telephone service, offered Australia-wide for people who want to give up smoking. Quitline provides support through specialist advisors, who have training to provide assistance with smoking cessation. There is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific Quitline in some states and territories. For those states with only mainstream Quitline services, there will still be an opportunity to speak to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisor.

There are multiple treatment options available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and many of these are often used in conjunction with each other. But certain approaches will work differently for each individual. When treating someone who wants to quit smoking, it’s important to focus on what works for each individual smoker [23503].


Key resources

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Panarringkarra by Jukuja Dolly Snell

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