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    David.Thomas@menzies.edu.au

    The headline for this article is very misleading. It could perhaps read: Research not keeping up with anti-smoking campaigns for Indigenous youth.

    I agree there is not much research that has been done with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth that can tell us what works to help these kids to not start smoking or to quit. This is true both of activities targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and those targeted more generally, such as plain-packaging, tax rises, or TV campaigns that neither mention nor feature young people or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    More research and evaluation is needed. Researchers like Kristin and I need to do this work now. But as she knows such research projects can take time to complete, and winning the grants to do this work is not easy. But I think it is fair to say that people are now doing this work. Not all of this will be controlled trials, but it will all add to the picture of what is likely t to work (e.g. see http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/963 ).

    Researchers have already shown, using ABS and schools surveys, that smoking prevalence among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was already falling before the new anti-tobacco money and programs were announced. Not fast enough, but definitely falling. So that is good news, and at odds with the headline. We just don’t know whether smoking is now falling faster after this more recent attention and activity. We should have some idea later this year when the next National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey results are released by the ABS.

    So I think there is no evidence to support the headline ‘Anti-smoking campaigns failing Indigenous youth’. But I expect the more accurate headline ‘Researcher calls for more research’ would just lead to a groan and yawn and no interest from the editor or their readers.

    Reply

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