Monitoring local trends in Indigenous tobacco consumption


Correspondence to: David P. Thomas, Menzies School of Health Research, PO Box 41096, Casuarina, NT 0810. Fax: 08 8927 5187; e-mail:


Objective: To compare two methods of monitoring tobacco consumption in remote Indigenous communities.

Methods: We examined the monthly difference between wholesale invoice and point-of-sale data for tobacco products from three stores from remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. We assessed three measures of wholesale data.

Results: The average monthly difference between the sale data and the average of wholesale invoices for the previous, same and following month was -33 cigarettes per day (95% CI -157, 92). This average of three months’ wholesale invoices provided a more precise estimate than either wholesale invoices from the same or previous month.

Conclusion: Tobacco wholesale data provided a close estimate of sales data in these stores.

Implications: This wholesale data could be used to monitor local trends in remote Indigenous tobacco consumption, facilitating the evaluation of the impact of tobacco control activities and informing future work to reduce Indigenous smoking and its harms.