To describe tobacco control policies and activities at a nationally representative sample of Aboriginal community-controlled health services (ACCHSs).

Design, setting and participants

The Talking About The Smokes (TATS) project used a quota sampling design to recruit 34 ACCHSs around Australia. Between April 2012 and October 2013, a representative at each ACCHS completed a survey about the service’s tobacco control policies and activities. Questions about support for smoke-free policies were also included in the TATS project survey of 2435 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the communities served by the ACCHSs.

Main outcome measures

ACCHS tobacco control policies and activities.


Thirty-two surveys were completed, covering 34 sites. Most ACCHSs (24/32) prioritised tobacco control “a great deal” or “a fair amount”, and all services had smoke-free workplace policies. Most had staff working on tobacco control and had provided tobacco control training within the past year. A range of quit-smoking information and activities had been provided for clients and the community, as well as extra smoking cessation support for staff. There was strong support for smoke-free ACCHSs from within the Aboriginal communities, with 87% of non-smokers, 85% of ex-smokers and 77% of daily smokers supporting a complete ban on smoking inside and around ACCHS buildings.


The high level of commitment and experience within ACCHSs provides a strong base to sustain further tobacco control measures to reduce the very high smoking prevalence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.