Blasters tackle smoking

BLAST IT: Trent Wingard, survey winner Alice Abdulla, Tamy Pond, survey winner Jasmine Abdulla, Ben Stewart and Zena Wingfield.
BLAST IT: Trent Wingard, survey winner Alice Abdulla, Tamy Pond, survey winner Jasmine Abdulla, Ben Stewart and Zena Wingfield.

With smoking a well known habit for many people. the Aboriginal Health Council recently sent its Tackling Indigenous Smoking Team, the Puyu Blasters, to a recent McRitchie Park Fun Day.

The community initiative aims to provide regional level engagement with communities through smoking education and raising awareness to reduce Indigenous smoking rates in regional and remote communities in South Australia.

The group put together a smoking survey with the aim of collecting evidence of smoking prevalence in communities (how many smokers and non-smokers) and how many know the dangers of smoking and the existence of environmental smoke or second hand (passive) smoking.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Project Officer Zena Wingfield said the surveys help to provide the group with a snapshot of the community in terms of what they know about smoking.

“The questions in the survey are not confronting or judgmental about people’s smoking habits,they are probing questions aimed at finding out what people know about smoking,” she said.

“They also aim to uncover what measures people take to provide a smoke free space for the vulnerable; children, pregnant women and those with respiratory issues for example asthma.

“ We also find what the community’s knowledge is of changing laws about smoking in public spaces, for example, outdoor eatery’s, public transport stops and sporting fields/playgrounds.” 

The five key areas of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking initiative are:

  • Quality and reach of community engagement
  • Organisations involved in tobacco reduction in the region
  • Building a capacity to support quitting
  • Referrals to appropriate quitting support
  • Supporting smoke-free environment

Those who completed the group’s smoking surveys at the McRitchie Park Fun Day were entered into a draw to win a Coles voucher for their age group.

Alice Abdulla received the $100 Coles voucher for the Family survey, while Jasmine Abdulla won a $50 Coles voucher for completing the Youth Survey.

The Puyu (translation ‘Smoke’) Blasters Programme has project officers based in 5 regional areas in South Australia – Whyalla, Port Augusta, Yalata, Port Lincoln and Coober Pedy.

There are an additional 4 project officers based in Adelaide who travel around to small regional areas and work with local schools, youth, health and community groups.

To get in contact with Ms Wingfield for a support referral or advice to quit smoking, or to organise an educational session, you can reach her on  (08) 8649 9900 or at

You can follow the Puyu Blasters on Facebook at