• Open Access

Stressful life events, resources, and access: key considerations in quitting smoking at an Aboriginal Medical Service


Dr Michelle DiGiacomo, Nursing Research Unit, University of Western Sydney and Sydney West Area Health Service, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith DC 1797, New South Wales. Fax: (02) 9840 3629; e-mail: michelle_digiacomo@wsahs.nsw.gov.au


Objective: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience adverse health outcomes and have high rates of smoking and related illnesses. This brief report describes stress as a barrier to quitting smoking derived from reflections within an Aboriginal Medical Service and makes recommendations for intervention development.

Methods: A high-intensity smoking cessation program was conducted within a suburban Aboriginal Medical Service in Western Sydney, Australia, over a 10-month period. The intervention included weekly cessation counselling sessions and dispensation of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

Results: During the observation period, 32 clients made quit attempts. To date, three clients (9%) have quit smoking. Chronic and intercurrent life stressors were noted to be the main barriers to smoking cessation described by participants.

Conclusions: Achieving smoking cessation among Indigenous people is made significantly more complex because of multiple life stressors experienced.

Implications: Future interventions targeting Indigenous Australians should take greater account of stressful life events and their impact on quitting smoking.