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Project:
Tobacco Free Communities

Filed in: community projects

Overview

The Tobacco Free Communities project is a multi-organisation collaboration inside specific communities to provide an innovative approach for people who want to stop smoking. The program is being rolled out in evaluated trials across Tasmania. Tobacco Free Communities Glamorgan Spring Bay and George Town are funded by the Healthy Tasmania Innovations Fund.

The program uses local community pharmacies who engage community members interested in quitting smoking. Recruited community members receive support to quit, attend weekly visits with carbon monoxide monitor testing to measure progress, and receive weekly vouchers for local businesses when they are smoke free. The program runs for 12 weeks.

Incentives-based quit smoking programs have been shown to be one of the most effective strategies for motivating smokers to quit, and stay quit (1). Smoking remains one of the most prevalent causes of chronic health disease and premature mortality(2). Rates of smoking in Tasmania are among the highest in Australia (second only to the NT).(3) People living in rural and remote localities are more likely to smoke and have reduced access to smoking cessation services.

Voucher-based incentives have been found to be a very effective strategy for promoting quit attempts and successful abstinence.(3) Receiving vouchers for not smoking on a regular basis positively reinforces people trying to quit during the pivotal and very difficult first few weeks of giving up. Incentive-based quit smoking programs allows the person trying to quit, the freedom to choose whichever strategy works best for them (e.g., quit-medication, counselling, hypnosis, cutting down), and rewards them regularly during the initial stages of quitting for not smoking.

Present

A trial in the George Town community is running between July 2019 and March 2020. This trial is a partnership between:

  • University of Tasmania
  • Drug Education Network
  • The Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Cancer Council Tasmania
  • Flinders Island Aboriginal Association
  • Local community Pharmacy
  • Multiple local businesses

History

Tobacco Free Communities Glamorgan Spring Bay

This project officially launched in July 2018 and was a collaboration between the following partners:

  • University of Tasmania
  • Drug Education Network
  • The Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Cancer Council Tasmania
  • Local community Pharmacy
  • Multiple local businesses

This trial recruited 35 community members and ran successfully in 2018.

Evaluation of the program is was undertaken by the University of Tasmania, with 36% of participants quit at the end of the 12 week program – a very successful result in tobacco cessation.

More information:

(1) Cahill K, Hartmann-Boyce J, and Perera R. Incentives for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2015; 5:CD004307. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25983287
(2) World Health Organization (WHO). Tobacco: Fact sheet No. 339. 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en
(3) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report: 2013. Cat. no. PHE 183 Canberra: AIHW, 2014. Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129549469&tab=3