The Top End Smoke-Free Spaces Project

Page last updated: 05 January 2017

State / Territory

Northern Territory

Funded Organisation

Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation (ARDS)

Program Objectives

The Project aims to support householders in three Top-End Aboriginal communities to establish or extend smoke-free spaces in the home. Households will be invited to participate in the program and receive ongoing support from ARDS team members and local project workers to take up strategies that render their homes - or parts of their homes - smoke-free.

The nature of these supports and the strategies promoted in the project will be developed through dialogue with community leaders. They may include:
  • further discussion and discovery education concerning smoking and its effects;
  • providing signs marking smoke free spaces in the household;
  • assisting the household to develop comfortable outdoor smoking areas; and providing information on incentives or prizes that can be won by households that take effect steps to create smoke free spaces.

Target group/area

The target group for this project is Aboriginal people residing in remote or very remote communities in the Top End of Australia.

The project will be delivered in communities hosting stores owned by the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA). ALPA currently owns stores in East, Central and West Arnhem Land, in Far North Queensland, and in a number of other regions in the Northern Territory.

Research questions/objectives

The research hypothesis underpinning the project is:

The proportion of the total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households in remote and very remote communities with active policies and strategies in place to control environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) can be increased by more than 50%, through a combination of incentive strategies, awareness-raising and capacity-building driven by local indigenous people and local systems of governance, knowledge and respect.

The following outcomes/objectives will be measured to assess the project’s success:
    1. Primary outcome – The project will achieve a 50% increase on the baseline in the number of households in the community with active policies and strategies in place to control ETS. The project will correlate householder statements about smoke-free policies that apply in their home with a quantitative measure of airborne particles in the home using a Dylos 1700 particle counter.
    2. Secondary outcome – Tobacco sales in ALPA outlets in the 12 months after the project ends will be lower than before the project and will show continuing decline.

Experimental design

The project aim’s to capture a set of baseline data in each participating household. Baseline information will include:
  • a description of any smoke-free spaces already established in that household;
  • a description of the residents of the household and whether or not they are smokers;
  • an understanding of how any smoke free spaces were originally established and how they are maintained;
  • an understanding of whether household members would like to establish or expand smoke-free spaces;
  • an understanding of weekly household expenditure on tobacco; and
  • quantitative measures of airborne particles in the house.
As support for each household continues, the project team will capture information on any new or expanded smoke free spaces and the key motivators and social mechanisms by which these spaces were established and maintained. Similarly, if no additional smoke-free spaces are established the project team will document the factors that led to this outcome.

At the conclusion of the project, in each household a final snapshot of smoke free spaces will be captured along with a further particle count to allow comparison with baseline data. This comparison will allow identification of the most successful strategies for promoting smoke-free spaces.

Tobacco sales data through the ALPA retail outlet in each community will be tracked across the project period to identify whether an extension of smoke free spaces leads to a corresponding decline in tobacco sales. This information will be compared with reported weekly household expenditure.