Supporting smoking cessation

A guide for health professionals
Culturally and linguistically diverse groups
☰ Table of contents

Prevalence of tobacco use in culturally and linguistically diverse groups in Australia varies from one community to another. Smoking is more common in men from Vietnamese and Chinese backgrounds and men and women from Middle Eastern backgrounds. People born in Oceania (New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia), Southern and Eastern Europe, and North West Europe were the most likely to report high rates of current smoking (24%, 23% and 22% respectively).25 However, average smoking rates in some of these communities are lower than for the rest of the Australian population.25 Tobacco is more commonly used via waterpipes in the Middle Eastern and African communities and by chewing it in the Burmese community rather than smoking cigarettes.

Some smokers in culturally and linguistically diverse groups in Australia face extra barriers to quitting, including a lack of awareness of the health consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke, lack of tobacco control regulations and norms in their culture of origin and difficulties accessing health information because of low literacy in English.17 These problems are most common among recently arrived groups and refugees.

Health professionals should offer advice, support and pharmacotherapy for all smokers. Support for cessation for these groups should use culturally appropriate resource materials.

The telephone Quitline service provides printed resources in 13 languages other than English, and callers can ask to have their call returned with an interpreter, in a range of languages other than English. Bilingual educators from Quit Victoria conduct information sessions in a number of community languages and the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service provides information and services to help health professionals communicate with non-English speaking communities .


Community language Quitline telephone numbers


1300 7848 03

Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin)

1300 7848 36


1300 7848 65


  1. Scollo MM, Winstanley MH, editors. Tobacco in Australia: facts and issues. A comprehensive online resource. 3rd edn. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria, 2008.  [accessed 25 March 2011].
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4831.0.55.001. Tobacco smoking in Australia: a snapshot 2004–05. September 2006. [accessed 28 March 2011].


Supporting smoking cessation (PDF 1.5 MB)