The importance of smoking education and preventative health strategies for people with intellectual disability. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tobacco smoking is a major health problem within our community. To date, little attention has been focused on determining the prevalence of smoking in people with disabilities or in developing appropriate strategies to assist them to stop smoking. Funding from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation enabled the Developmental Disability Unit at Monash University, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, to undertake a project investigating smoking in a population of people with intellectual disability. In the first part of the project, the smoking rate among a geographically defined group of people with mild intellectual disability was investigated. A smoking prevalence of 36% was found within the sample group, as compared to a prevalence of 26% within the general Victorian adult population. An association was found between the motivation to quite and the recall of advice to stop smoking. The second part of the project comprised the development and piloting of a smoking education course for people with intellectual disability. The pilot sample was small, but the results were encouraging. Fifty-five per cent of the group either quit smoking or cut down their intake significantly. Seventy-three per cent expressed a desire to stop smoking at the completion of the course, and all participants expressed an increased concern and knowledge about the effects of smoking on their health after completing the course.

publication date

  • October 1, 1997