ARDS Aboriginal Corporation contracted Keogh Bay Consulting director Matt Wrigley to project manage its Top End Smoke-Free Spaces project from September 2017 – June 2018.

The project was funded through an Australian government Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) Innovation grant. James Cook University supported the evaluation of the project. The Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA) provided additional funding, logistical support and cigarette sales data from their stores.

ARDS conducted fieldwork in three remote Indigenous communities; Ramingining and Gapuwiyak in east Arnhem Land, and Minjilang, in West Arnhem Land. Different facilitators worked in the three communities working under Matt Wrigley, the project manager.

The research goal was to increase the number of smoke free spaces already existing in each location by 50%. We learnt that this was best achieved by increasing participants’ understanding about the physiological story for smoking, the meaning and effects of passive smoking and by helping people integrate this new knowledge with traditional and contemporary social and cultural norms around regulation.

In Gapuwiyak we engaged with 71 households – 68% of houses in the community. 56 of these households worked to strengthen an existing smoke-free rule (21) or established smoke free rule for the first time (39). In other words, 79% of the households where we engaged made a change to reduce environmental tobacco smoke