NACCHO Smoke Free news:World Tobacco key message from Tom Calma,the time to STOP is now!

World No Tobacco Day

The key message from Tom Calma is don’t leave it too late, while we are doing that we are losing each other and while we are doing that we are losing our language, our stories, we’re losing the brilliant minds of many of our senior people so we all need to heed the messages and know it will catch up with us as some stage.


Geoff Richardson; FaHCSIA; Dr Tom Calma, National Coordinator – Tackling Indigenous Smoking; Julie Tongs, CEO Winnunga Nimmityjah Health Service; and Justin Mohamed, Chair of NACCHO encouraging their mob to quit.

Image: Geoff Bagnall

Introduction and photo above from the National Indigenous Times

World No Tobacco Day, celebrated on 31 May every year was marked around Australia and the world this year with a call to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

With almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population smoking, the focus is not only on sponsorship and advertising, it is also on family and culture.

Aunty Agnes Shea who gave the Welcome to Country at the World No Tobacco Day luncheon in Canberra spoke on the terrible toll smoking had on families and communities and spoke from the personal experience of the toll it had taken on her own family, including loss of limbs due to smoking and tragically, even death.

Dr Tom Calma, National Coordinator – Tackling Indigenous Smoking, stressed the time to stop smoking was now given the damage being done not only to the health of individuals but to the health of Indigenous cultures. “The key message is don’t leave it too late, while we are doing that we are losing each other and while we are doing that we are losing our language, our stories, we’re losing the brilliant minds of many of our senior people so we all need to heed the messages and know it will catch up with us as some stage, “he said.

The luncheon which was hosted by National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), in partnership with Aboriginal Hostels Limited, and Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, was MC’d by comedian, Sean Choolburra who had the crowd laughing and songs and entertainment was performed by Last Kinnection whose own anti-smoking message was delivered in a song, aptly tittle “Kick the Habit”, which was written by the group about band member Naomi Wenitong’ s personal experiences of quitting smoking.

To hear the deadly song please visit Youtube:


Naomi and Joel Wenitong (Last Kinnection)

Sean Choolburra_on stage

Sean Chollburra

Images: Geoff Bagnall

Dr Calma urged smokers to make today the day they make the effort to quit saying “it isn’t easy but there is support out there”.

Dr Calma praised the efforts of Quitline and its new Indigenous service saying Indigenous smokers “can get support from one of our mob,” but also stressed the efforts Quitline had made in the cultural sensitivity training it had engaged for its non-Indigenous staff.

Aunty AgnesJustin - NACCHO Chair

Pictures above Aunty Agnes Shea and Justin Mohamed

Justin Mohamed, Chairperson of NACCHO reiterated Dr Calma’s speech.

Justin added that NACCHO is implementing all of it Smoke Free initiatives with Leadership in mind; the NACCHO board has undertaken a leadership role in this space because we acknowledge that Smoke Free starts with us as an organisation; the Board have attended and participated in the NACCHO Intensive Smoke Free Leadership workshop and have taken that knowledge back to their services.

The NACCHO “Pledge to Quit” campaign attracted 150 people who pledged to go smoke free. Pledgers were invited to the lunch to celebrate with us; this also gave us the opportunity to be able to acknowledge them for taking the first steps on their smoke free journey.

Some people made up there own pledges, here a just a few of their powerful words:

  • “I pledge to be smoke free so that I’ll live to see my grandchildren”
  • “I wish to see the day where smokes are no longer the biggest killer of our mob! Be proud, be strong, be deadly!”

And from someone who pledged to support their son:

  • “I will give up chocolate – one of the things I love most, if my son –  one of the people I love most – can give up the smokes!”

Justin also thanked the Regional Tobacco workforce; Tobacco Action workers and Healthy Lifestyle teams, who have been a powerful driving force in achieving the aims of the Indigenous Tackling Smoking campaign.

World No Tobacco Day event

Dr Tom Calma; Justin Mohamed; with NACCHO staff members, Jessica Mitchell; Marianne Pinnington and Donisha Duff; Ashleigh Peachey, NACCHO youth delegate member

Image: Geoff Bagnall

Making Everyday – World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is over for another year… Thanks to everyone who Pledge their commitment to go Smoke Free in 2013.

Don’t forget to send us a photo of yourself or others in your new World No Tobacco Day shirt or photos of activities in your community!

We still have a few more WNTD t-shirts to give away; all you have to do is pledge. Pledgers can be both people wanting to quit or people wanting to support someone to quit. Whatever your journey we would like reward you with a shirt for showing your support for a smoke free future.

Contact the Smoke Free Project Officer, Ms Trisha Williams to pledge today!

NACCHO Staff - World No Tobacco Day

EVENT: NACCHO Health Summit

Abstracts and registration is now open for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO) National Community Controlled Health Summit.

This is expected to be a big event with the opportunity for ACCHS and others to showcase the great works and initiatives that are being undertaken in the Aboriginal primary Health care and service delivery – Tobacco Control area.

To register or to submit an ABSTRACT check out the NACCHO website: