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NBPU TIS Update 2:5

24 March 2017

Monthly Message from the National Coordinator, Prof. Tom Calma AO

Hi TIS workers and supporters,
Another month has passed since my last message and so much has happened too.
Close the Gap Day
As you are all aware National Close the Gap Day is March 16 and is celebrated annually. On Close the Gap Day it is important for all of us to reflect on the work we have achieved and the work that still needs to be done in future but it is also equally important to celebrate our successes and be involved with our communities.
If anyone has photos which they would like to share from Close the Gap Day it would be great if you could upload them onto the portal to share.
National Indigenous Research Conference
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the University of Canberra teamed together to host the National Indigenous Research Conference. The three day conference was held in Canberra from March 21 to March 23 and was structured around the theme “Impact, Engagement, Transformation” and joined together researchers, policymakers, cultural and collecting institutions, the corporate sector and communities. It examined how we can effectively target research efforts to achieve better policy outcomes and practice with lasting impact through transformative change. I was fortunate enough to chair a session based on Tobacco Cessation called “Impact through evidence” which was delivered by Penney Upton, Desley Thompson from the NBPU TIS) Patricia Pearce  (AHCWA Perth) and Chris Cookson (Sunrise in Katherine NT).
If you would like more information about the conference please click here.
Benefits of Quitting – Improved Well-being and Mental Health
TIS teams have been doing an outstanding job promoting the physical health benefits from quitting smoking, which leads to longer life with less chronic disease, and stronger family and community.

But smokers talk about using cigarettes as a way to deal with stress. Smokers know that the relief is short-lived, but they may not realise that the smokes contribute to the stress. The smokes also reduce overall well-being. Some clues to the link between smoking, mental health and well-being are found in some of the symptoms of tobacco withdrawal, which include:

  • depressed mood
  • irritability
  • frustration or anger
  • anxiety
Smoking can be a journey of ups and downs through these symptoms.

But after breaking free from using tobacco, smokers often describe “gaining a new zest for life” and can often notice this within a matter of weeks. This is supported by the research which shows that compared to people who keep puffing, quitters report having:
  • better mood
  • less anxiety
  • less stress, and
  • a better quality of life.

I strongly encourage you to promote these benefits and mention them in your yarning with community. Importantly, the well-being and positive mental health benefits from quitting align comfortably with our cultural focus on holistic health. Happy and healthy non-smokers also provides the most powerful of messages to young people in our community.
Recent visit to Tasmania
In late February I visited Tasmania for RA business and took the opportunity to visit colleagues in the FIAAI TIS team in Launceston and the TAC in Hobart and I met with senior staff of 4 AMS in Tasmania. 

National Tackling Indigenous Smoking Workshop
The National Tackling Indigenous Smoking Workshop will be held in Adelaide in May. The workshop program and logistics will be advised to the network in the coming weeks.
Harmony Day
With Harmony Day over again for another year (21 March) I urge you all to continue the conversation about inclusion in your workplace and communities.

AIATSIS National Indigenous Research Conference 2017
Theme: Impact, Engagement, Transformation

Over the last few days representatives from the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program attended the three day 2017 AIATSIS National Indigenous Research Conference in Canberra.  Our presentation “Impact through Evidence – Indigenous Smoking” showcased activities our Grant Recipients are undertaking plus how the NBPU are supporting the TIS-funded organisations. 

The presentation was very well received from participants, with positive feedback given to each of us.  The session was chaired by Professor Tom Calma AO and presenters were:  Penny Upton – University of Canberra, Chris Cookson - Regional Tobacco Co-ordinator from Sunrise Health Service (Katherine, NT), Patricia Pearce from AHCWA (Perth, WA) and Desley Thompson - NBPU TIS Manager. The presentation included information about a Smoking in Pregnant Women’s program, Instigating Smoke-free Homes and Cars and other activities and we made special mention of the Waru Dyoorahba Noorwundyuk (We Quit Tobacco) from Gippsland and the Prison quit smoking program from Mt Gambier.  Thanks to Paul Patten, Regional TIS Coordinator at LEAHA (Vic) and Danielle Ashford, TIS coordinator at Pangula Mannamurna (SA) for sending through information about these programs.
The conference was attended by over 400 people from around the country and overseas.  NBPU TIS Manager, Desley Thompson comments:  I was very enthused by the wonderful research work that’s coming out and how such information can progress and empower our communities.  It was also a privilege to hear from some very inspirational and knowledgeable people, for example a keynote address from Moana Jackson, from the Ngati Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine and Ngati Porou tribes, the east coast of Aotearoa.  Moana tells stories from home that includes some incredible thought-provoking messages.  And of course, always great to hear from our home-grown presenters, Professor Tom Calma AO, Professor Mick Dodson, Pat Anderson AO, just to name a few.
More information about the conference at    


No Smokes training in Adelaide

The next No Smokes Flipchart and Resource training will be held in Adelaide on Wednesday the 10th May at Nunkuwarrin Yunti. 

David Copley will be facilitating the training which is open to all staff who are interested in receiving valuable tools and insights into brief interventions.  Feel free to forward this invitation to any interested parties.
Please RSVP to Kelly by April 28 and advise of any dietary requirements you may have.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Motivational Interviewing with Cancer Council SA and the Carbal TIS Team

Project Officer Kerry Chowis recently visited Toowoomba, joining the Cancer Council SA team who provided Motivational Interviewing training to staff of Carbal Aboriginal Medical Service, including the TIS team and local colleagues from the Darling Downs Hospital and health services.  Kerry said, ‘it was great to meet with everyone and to see the networks in Toowoomba, great people and lovely weather.  Thanks for sharing your stories with me’.

Cancer Council SA provides two-day nationally recognised training across Australia designed to develop the skills of participants for those who work with Aboriginal People.   The training provides participants with enhanced knowledge, skills and confidence to support Aboriginal people to think about their smoking and make some changes. For more information about this training or hosting group training please email,

Kerry said, “the training providers were friendly and knowledgeable and they delivered the information in an open and genuine way. The training was definitely worthwhile and I felt that they achieved the goal of providing me with the skills and knowledge to support people with brief interventions when they are thinking about making some changes to their smoking behaviour”. 

This training is delivered free to anyone working with Aboriginal people

Harmony Day

Umoona Tjutagku Health Service Aboriginal Co. and the Puyu Blasters from the Aboriginal Health Council of SA have come together to provide a SMOKE FREE Community harmony family day in Coober Pedy.

Our diversity makes Australia a great place to live. Harmony day is a celebration of our cultural diversity – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.

The message of harmony day is ‘Everyone Belongs’, the day was aimed to engage community to participate in a family fun day and learn about other cultures.
The big event of the night was the men and women’s soccer game. The players were from all different cultures including Aboriginal, Sri Lankan, Italian, Greek and Indian.

The Puyu Blasters where a big hit with the Puyu Blaster superhero delivering education to the youth on the importance of living Smoke Free. While the Puyu blaster superhero was a hit with the youth, a major focus of the strategy is collecting evidence of smoking prevalence in communities(how many smokers and non-smokers), what people know of the dangers of smoking and existence of environmental smoke or second hand (passive) smoking. In the surveys we ask people to complete are tools to collect information on the communities we work in; this information provides a snap shot of a portion of the broader population and helps influences the message or the focus for our smoking education, awareness and social marketing in those communities and similar population in other regions.

The questions in the survey are not confronting or judgemental about peoples smoking, they are probing questions aimed at finding out what people know about smoking, what measures they take to provide a smoke free space for vulnerable people; children, pregnant women and those with respiratory issues for example asthma. Also finding out community’s knowledge of changing laws about smoking in public spaces for example outdoor eatery’s, public transport stops and sporting fields/playgrounds.

The questions are also about measuring smoking and non-smoking rates, finding out what messages or influences are having an impact to reduce smoking rates, are Commonwealth strategies like plain packaging working? is it the 12.5% excise - increasing the cost of cigarettes every year?, or are the health messages changing behaviour…

People are becoming aware of the dangers and changes to the law protecting children for second hand/passive smoking.

Baby news!

Congratulations to Danika (PAMS Coordinator, Newman) and her partner Chad, on the birth of their second son Remy Holmgreen on February 19. Everyone is healthy and well.

Danika is currently on maternity leave, returning to work in May. She is currently in the USA visiting family and commented, “Two under two on a 24 hour flight, yup we’re mad!”.

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