Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 3, March 2009

Smoking patterns and readiness to quit A study of the Australian Arabic community

Seham Girgis Armita Adily Maria-Jose Velasco Frances L Garden Bin B Jalaludin Jeanette E Ward Nicholas A Zwar
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Smoking cessation interventions have typically focused on majority populations who, in Australia, are English speaking. There has been an overall decline in the prevalence of smoking in the Australian community. However, there remains a relative paucity of useful information about tobacco use and the effectiveness of tobacco interventions among specific ethnic minorities.
To determine associations of tobacco use and tobacco control indicators for Arabic speakers seen in the Australian general practice setting.
Twenty-nine (53.7%) of 54 eligible Arabic speaking GPs in southwest Sydney participated in this study. Of 1371 patients seen, 29.7% were smokers. Smokers were more likely to report poorer health (χ2=21.7, df=1, p<0.001); 35.7% reported high nicotine dependence. Dependence was more in men (χ2=11.7, df=1, p<001) and those who reported poorer health (χ2=4.9, df=1, p<0.03); 35.9% had attempted to quit in the previous year; 17% were in preparation stage of change; 42.7% recalled quit advice. Poorer self reported health status (AOR=2.13, 95% CI: 1.14-3.97, p=0.017) and unemployment (AOR=1.69, 95% CI: 1.51–4.90, p=0.033) were independent predictors of advice from a health professional, most often a GP (71%).
Our study confirms previous reports that the proportion of self reported current smokers among the Arabic community is higher than for the Anglo-European majority. There is a need for ethno specific campaigns in tobacco control.

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