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The gap in tobacco use between remote Indigenous Australian communities and the Australian population can be closed
  1. A R Clough1,2,2,
  2. J A Robertson1,
  3. D J MacLaren1
  1. 1
    School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2
    School of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

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    The Australian Prime Minister’s historic apology to the “stolen generations” in February 2008 included commitments to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians “within a generation”. In a subsequent speech, the Health Minister reasoned: “Indigenous Australians need to play their part too” and “it is ultimately up to individuals to modify their behaviour to reduce their exposure to illness”.1 Preliminary results of a survey of tobacco use in remote communities indicate that the majority of Indigenous smokers want to quit but adequate support has not been available.

    In 2008, we interviewed 397 people (aged ⩾16 years) in 3 communities (populations from 1200–2000) in isolated corners of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Participants were recruited opportunistically using quotas to reflect age and gender balances in community …

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    • Funding: The research was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant 436012.

    • Competing interests: None declared.

    • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was granted by the NT Department of Health and Families and Menzies School of Health Research.