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Bid to cut smoking at Pilbara businesses

Karratha-based health agencies teamed up on World No Tobacco Day on Thursday to remind residents of the health risks of smoking and call on local businesses to consider implementing smoke-free policies in the workplace.

Groups including the Cancer Council, Pilbara Population Health and Mawarnkarra Health Service spent the morning speaking to Karratha stakeholders about how they could help reduce levels of smoking at their offices, before taking their health message to the community in the afternoon.

Cancer Council Pilbara regional education officer Anne Johnston said agencies wanted businesses to come on board to make local anti-smoking initiatives more sustainable at the grassroots level.

“We’re trying to get smoke-free policies and support networks within the businesses, so that if somebody does smoke… (there’s the approach of) let us support you to quit smoking so at least they have a plan,” she said.

“We’re also looking at some quit-smoking training at some businesses, and tackling the fact that a lot of businesses lose a lot of productivity due to people smoking.”

With about 20 per cent of residents classed as smokers, the Pilbara has the second highest rates of smoking in WA after the Kimberley.

For indigenous residents the average figure is higher at about 45 per cent.

Mawarnkarra tackling indigenous smoking program team leader Marie Murray said smoking had a much wider impact that most people realised.

“It’s more than themselves —it’s all about the community, health and families living longer,” she said.

“It impacts on government, it impacts on every level.”

According to the Cancer Council, smoking is a major factor in 16 different types of cancer and various cardiovascular conditions.

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