• In some communities, smoking rates are higher than the national average.
  • Help and information are available in a range of community languages.
  • Call Quitline on 13 78 48 (13 QUIT) for the cost of a local call.
Quit services to help you stop smoking are available from a diverse range of organisations and in a number of community languages. Australia has a very large population of people from non-English speaking and culturally diverse backgrounds. Some of these communities have smoking rates that are much higher than the national average.

Tobacco smoking is one of the most common causes of ill health and premature death in Australia. Almost 15,000 Australians die from smoking-related diseases each year.

Multilingual and culturally appropriate help to stop smoking is available through doctors, health centres, pharmacists, community centres, ethnic organisations and Quit Victoria.

Smoking in different cultures

In Victoria, around 28 per cent of the population speaks a language other than English at home. The 2011–12 Australian Health Survey found that around 19 per cent of people born in Australia smoked tobacco. Smoking rates were higher for people born in the Pacific, North Africa and the Middle East and lower for those born in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Asia.

Smoking rates that combine both men and women can disguise the fact that, for many countries of origin, the smoking rates of men are very high and the female smoking rates are quite low. For example, a 2005 New South Wales survey shows that the male smoking rate for those born in Vietnam was seven times that of the female smoking rate.

Resources and services to stop smoking

Quit Victoria has a number of strategies to reach culturally diverse communities including:

  • Resources in up to 26 languages – to help smokers quit and to provide information about the health effects of smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. These resources are free in Victoria and can be purchased by others elsewhere in Australia. Resources are available through the Quit website.
  • Free information sessions – on the health effects of smoking and second-hand smoking, and information on how to quit. Bilingual facilitators are available, in a number of community languages, to attend community groups and English classes for newly arrived migrants.
  • Quitline using the interpreter service – for people who speak a language other than English and want to talk to a Quit adviser. Callers can contact Quitline on 13 78 48 and ask for this service or agencies can refer clients using the online and fax referral forms available through the Quit website.
  • Working with ethnic media – Quit Victoria has bilingual facilitators and community champions that work with ethnic media including radio, newspapers, ethnic publications and community television to promote our message and provide information on stopping smoking in a variety of community languages.
  • Brief intervention training for community workers – Quit Victoria offers brief intervention training for staff in organisations working with culturally diverse communities. Through half-day seminars, the training shows community workers how to help and support smokers from culturally diverse backgrounds to quit.

Visit the Quit website or call Quit on 13 78 48 for more information.

Where to get help

  • Quitline Tel. 13 78 48 (13 QUIT)
  • Your doctor
  • Pharmacy
  • Community Health Services
  • Ethnic organisations

Things to remember

  • In some communities, smoking rates are higher than the national average.
  • Help and information are available in a range of community languages.
  • Call Quitline on 13 78 48 (13 QUIT) for the cost of a local call.
  • Quit Multicultural Project, Quit Victoria. More information here
  • Winstanley, M The health effects of active smoking, in Scollo, M. M., Winstanley, M. H., eds. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues. 3rd ed. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2008. More information here
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Table B12 Language spoken at home, by sex, Community Profile Series, Victoria. More information here
  • Lazzaro, V (3mb, pdf) 2002 Victorian Year Book. Number 114. ABS Catalogue No. 1301.2, Victorian Office, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra. More information here
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009, National Health Survey 2007–08: Summary of results. ABS Catalogue No. 4364.0. ABS, Canberra. More information here

More information

Smoking and tobacco

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Smoking and tobacco basics

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Quit

Last updated: May 2016

Page content currently being reviewed.

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.