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The Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Tobacco Control (CEITC) was established in September 2003 to address the high prevalence and incidence of tobacco smoking in Indigenous communities in Australia. Research has indicated that smoking is a leading contributor towards ill health and mortality for Indigenous people, with 20% of all deaths related to tobacco smoking.
CEITC was funded for six years by the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing, based in the Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit at the University of Melbourne. At the time it was established, tobacco control was a low to mid priority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
CEITC had a national coordination role, and sought to improve health outcomes related to tobacco control consumption by building national capacity for effective Indigenous tobacco control programs. CEITC endeavoured to raise awareness around tobacco control issues through its primary focus on research, teaching, policy development, knowledge sharing and advocacy.
Most of CEITC’s work was with community organisations including the NACCHO affiliates. CEITC also worked with a number of NGOs including state Cancer Councils and the National Heart Foundation.
Key activities and outcomes:
One of the challenges that emerged was in CEITC responding to the increased level of work it is called upon to provide given the recognition, level of activity and attention occuring in Indigenous tobacco control.
In early 2008, CEITC's ongoing advocacy for increased levels of funding included a presentation to Government at the CRCAH's 2008 Parliamentary Showcase, which contributed towards a commitment by the State, Territory and Federal Governments of $1.6billion in funding to tackle high Indigenous smoking rates. CEITC was contracted to provided a written report to the Federal Government which reviewed current evidence and proposed a set of recommendations to inform the National Indigenous Tobacco Control Initiative. CEITC was also contracted to undertake consultations with health workers to provide feedback on their current capacity and what measures are needed to facilitate tobacco control work.
The following publications and resources are avialable on the CEITC website: www.ceitc.org.au
University of Melbourne