“I think a lot of the reason for the high smoking rate is boredom”
Introducing the No Smokes blogger for December… Melanie Rarrtjiwuy Herdman
Melanie is a 25-year-old Yolngu woman who was born in the regional town of Bendigo, Victoria. She moved to North East Arnhem Land when she was a baby and grew up in the communities of Yirrkala and Gunyangara.
Melanie now has two children; a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and although she has never smoked herself, she worries about her kids growing up in a community where smoking is so common.
Melanie is a Liaison Officer at Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation, and sees the good work that is being done to reduce smoking in Nhulunbuy and the surrounding communities.
There is a no-smoking policy at her workplace and programs to help people to quit. But Melanie still thinks the smoking rate amongst Aboriginal people is too high, and she worries about the impact on young people.
She will be writing about her thoughts on smoking, and the impact that it has on her friends, family and relationships with people in her life.
“I think a lot of the reason for the high smoking rate is boredom. People use smoking as a way to fill their time, and also to socialise with their friends and family,” says Melanie.
Smoking rates in remote communities are estimated to be as high as 70%, compared to around 16% in mainstream Australia.
Melanie Herdman is a 25 year old Aboriginal woman, who lives in Gunyangara, a remote community in NorthEast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. She is a non-smoker and wants to share her views on growing up as a non-smoker, and touch on the topic of passive smoking and children.
You can follow Melanie’s blog throughout December.