Anti-smoking project to continue in the Shoalhaven for another year

Photo: iStock.
Photo: iStock.

An anti-smoking campaign targeting teenage women and pregnant smokers in the Shoalhaven will be able to continue, thanks to additional federal government funding.

More than $600,000 will go to the South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation (Waminda), to extend the Balaang Binjalaan–Aboriginal Women Tobacco Intervention Project for another year.

The project, announced during NAIDOC Week – will stretch between the Illawarra and Eden and will also extend to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, including smokers of child-bearing age.

“This health campaign reflects NAIDOC Week’s ‘Because of her, we can!’ theme,” said Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt.

“Helping young women, mothers and their partners quit smoking is vital to ensure healthier futures for their children and themselves.

“Every local initiative like this plays an important part in the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, a comprehensive national approach to reduce smoking among our First Nations people and the wider community.”

Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis said the Balaang Binjalaan project complemented Waminda’s successful Dead or Deadly women’s health program.

“Through Waminda’s holistic and culturally comfortable engagement with local women, indications are that quitting rates are increasing,” Ms Sudmalis said.

“This is important because research shows that smoking is responsible for one in five preventable deaths in Aboriginal people and also contributes to low birth weight babies and poorer infant health.

“This funding will help Waminda extend Balaang Binjalaan to more local communities and hopefully double the number of participants, to 120.”

The $610,000 Waminda funding will also support the University of Wollongong’s evaluation of the Balaang Binjilaang project.