Tackling Tobacco: helping disadvantaged smokers via community organisations

Gary helped others to quit smoking at the Wayside Chapel in Sydney. Read more about Gary’s Story  

What is the Tackling Tobacco Program?

Tackling Tobacco helps community services staff to support their clients to quit smoking.

Cancer Council NSW has worked with many charities and non-government services since 2006 as part of the Tackling Tobacco program. Partner organisations include   such well-known names as the Salvation Army, Uniting Care Burnside,   Mission Australia, The Wayside Chapel and Matthew Talbot Homelessness Services.

How does the program work?

Tackling Tobacco encourages social and community workers to ask people if they are interested in stopping smoking. The program also helps services to provide a supportive environment for quitting.

Six ways we help social and community services to address tobacco are:

  1. Raising awareness: We provide talks about the links between smoking and disadvantage on request.
  2. Smoking Care Training: We subsidise a free a one-day training course for workers on supporting clients to quit. More than 1,000 workers have taken part so far.
  3. Resources: We supply free casework, policy and client resources. We also give pointers to useful resources produced by other organisations.
  4. Projects: We have provided financial and other support to help more than 80 community welfare organisations to run their own smoking-care projects.
  5. Research: We offer useful summaries of relevant research and pointers to key research articles.
  6. Online support network: We provide online support for community workers hosted by HSNet.

How does this apply to my organisation and me?

By working closely with the Tackling Tobacco Program, many organisations have gained the support they need to help address smoking with their clients. Some examples of how services have done this include:

  • Providing training for staff, including on tactful ways of   talking about quitting with clients
  • Having quit-smoking materials in the service and knowing who to refer people to
  • Running quit-smoking groups – either using a program manual,   or finding a facilitator through a partnership
  • Supporting consumers to quit smoking via case-management work
  • Partnering with local doctors and pharmacists who provide help
  • Introducing designated smoking areas or smoke-free sites
  • Introducing policies to protect workers from tobacco smoke.

Why work with community organisations?

Social and community organisations have a mission to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of society.

 Smoking is a Social Justice Issue

The high rates of smoking amongst disadvantaged people make smoking an important  social justice issue. Vulnerable people suffer disproportionately from the health and social consequences of smoking.

As well as undermining health, smoking increases financial problems and reduces quality of life.