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Keywords:

  • Tobacco;
  • smoking;
  • Aboriginal;
  • Indigenous;
  • Australia

Abstract

Objective: To estimate daily cigarette consumption among residents aged 15+ in five remote central Australian predominantly Aboriginal communities.

Methods: Estimation of average daily cigarette consumption derived from a 12-month (2007) complete sales audit of cigarettes in isolated communities where no other tobacco supplies are available, using two assumptions of smoking prevalence (50% and 70%).

Results: Across the five communities, daily smoking consumption averaged 8.3 cigarettes per day (assuming a 50% smoking prevalence) or 5.9 cigarettes per day (assuming a 70% smoking prevalence). The corresponding amounts spent per smoker per day were $4.13 or $2.95, representing 12.7%-9.1% of the maximum $453.30 per fortnight unemployment allowance for a single person.

Conclusion: While smoking prevalence may be high in these Aboriginal communities, smoking frequency is low compared to that in the wider Australian community. These results are consistent with other studies. Approaches to cessation premised on assumptions of nicotine dependence in such populations are likely to be misconceived.