THE never-ending battle to extinguish smoking rates is being fought in the minds of the community, as organisations target the region’s youth.
Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service (TAMS) chief executive officer Rodger Williams simply knew in his mind it was time to give-up cigarettes.
“I was in the army at the time and just had enough, it was affecting me and I went to the doctor and said ‘I want to give up smoking’ and that was it,” he said.
“I think person needs to be set in their mind that they need to give up.”
TAMS staff talked to local students at The Youthie on World No Tobacco Day on Thursday, while rates of smoking, particularly in Indigenous communities, have dropped, Mr Williams said it was still important to target youth.
“Education starts with the youth and hopefully you can catch them before they start smoking,” he said.
NSW Health figures suggest rates of smoking have dropped to 15.2 per cent of adults.
However, NSW Labor attacked the Berejiklian Government for misleading the community on tobacco consumption – saying that for the second consecutive year smoking rates have increased in NSW.
Labor also slammed government for allowing the NSW Tobacco Strategy to expire – without a replacement plan.
“NSW is defying trends in western countries and we are unfortunately seeing an increase in tobacco consumption,” NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said.
“The Berejiklian Government is blatantly lying about the level of smoking in the community.”
“Sadly, the Berejiklian Government has dropped the ball on tobacco.”
This morning, the State Government released data showing that smoking rates have peaked at 15.2 per cent for 2017 – and claimed that it was down from 22.5 per cent in 2002.
In 2015, the smoking rate was 13.5 per cent and in 2016, it increased to 15 per cent, Labor claimed