Tackling Indigenous smoking: A randomised controlled study of health intervention “SNAP” in Northern Territory prisons

October 2016

NDARC: Professor Kate Dolan, Dr Ryan Courtney, Dr Emily Stockings, Associate Professor Timothy Dobbins and Professor Anthony Shakeshaft.

Project description: 

The Northern Territory prison population comprises 92% Indigenous Australians and 88% smokers. The NT prison-smoking ban creates a population-wide abstinence. We aim to extend this period of abstinence into the community.

Rationale: Prisoners have high levels of smoking, 74% smoke and 94% smoke daily. More Indigenous prison entrants are current smokers (82% vs. 72%) and fewer are ex-smokers (4% vs. 12%) than other entrants. This contrasts with the general community, where smoking has almost halved (25% in 1996 to 13% in 2013).

The aims of the study are:

  • Assess the feasibility of delivering SNAP to NT male prisoners.
  • Determine if the SNAP program can significantly reduce smoking relapse in the treated group compared to the control group at day 1, 7, 30 and 90 post-prison release.
  • Determine if the SNAP program can significantly reduce the risk factors of poor Nutrition, Alcohol abuse and Physical inactivity for NT male prison population.
  • Conduct a cost benefit analysis to determine if SNAP is cost effective in reducing the risk factors for Smoking, Nutrition, Alcohol abuse and Physical inactivity for NT prison population.
  • Establish a cohort for a longitudinal study of prisoner health in the Northern Territory.

All eligible prisoners nearing release will be invited into the study and those who consent will be randomised to receive the Health Intervention SNAP or usual care, control group.

Study activities include: Released participants will be followed up to examine relapse to smoking at Day 1, 7, 30 and 90 post-release. An additional outcome will be the comparison of the two Groups on Nutrition, Alcohol and Physical activity risk factors post-release.