• Indigenous;
  • Australian;
  • smoking;
  • measurement


Introduction and Aims. In remote Indigenous Australian communities measuring individual tobacco use can be confounded by cultural expectations, including sharing. We compared self-reported tobacco consumption with community-level estimates in Arnhem Land (Northern Territory). Design and Methods. In a cross-sectional survey in three communities (population 2319 Indigenous residents, aged16 years), 400 Indigenous residents were interviewed (206 men, 194 women). Eight community stores provided information about tobacco sold during the survey. To gauge the impact of 255 non-Indigenous residents on tobacco turnover, 10 were interviewed (five men, five women). Breath carbon monoxide levels confirmed self-reported smoking. Self-reported number of cigarettes smoked per day was compared with daily tobacco consumption per user estimated using amounts of tobacco sold during 12 months before the survey (2007–2008). ‘Lighter smokers’ (<10 cigarettes per day) and ‘heavier smokers’ (10 cigarettes per day) in men and women were compared. Results. Of 400 Indigenous study participants, 305 (76%) used tobacco; four chewed tobacco. Of 301 Indigenous smokers, 177 (58%) provided self-reported consumption information; a median of 11–11.5 cigarettes per day in men and 5.5–10 cigarettes per day in women. Men were three times (odds ratio = 2.9) more likely to be ‘heavier smokers’. Store turnover data indicated that Indigenous tobacco users consumed the equivalent of 9.2–13.1 cigarettes per day; very similar to self-reported levels. Sixty per cent (6/10) of non-Indigenous residents interviewed were smokers, but with little impact on tobacco turnover overall (2–6%). Discussion and Conclusions. Smoking levels reported by Indigenous Australians in this study, when sharing tobacco was considered, closely reflected quantities of tobacco sold in community stores. [Clough AR, MacLaren DJ, Robertson JA, Ivers RG, Conigrave KM. Can we measure daily tobacco consumption in remote Indigenous communities? Comparing self-reported tobacco consumption with community-level estimates in an Arnhem Land study. Drug Alcohol Rev 2010]