On 1 September - the first day of Spring - the cost of a packet of cigarettes increased by 12.5 per cent, a move welcomed by Northern NSW Local Health District, as well as health authorities and practitioners Australia-wide.

The rise, due to a tax increase, is the third tranche of four annual tax increases on tobacco that will deliver a 60 per cent increase by 1 December 2016.

NNSW LHD Health Promotion Manager Jillian Adams said, “Although smoking levels have declined dramatically in the past 30 years there are still around 19 per cent of adults smoking in our area.

“Many of these smokers are nicotine-dependent and find it really hard to quit. To help them, NNSW LHD will now be offering free quit smoking programs in most locations.

“The quit programs are 3 or 6 weeks long and will help support smokers quit for good,” said Ms Adams.

NNSW LHD Chief Executive, Chris Crawford

The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) Chief Executive, Chris Crawford will retire from the position at the end of this year, at the completion of his current five-year contract.

Announcing his decision today (2 Sept) Mr Crawford said he had informed the NNSW LHD Board that he would not be reapplying for the position, which would “enable the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive to commence.”

A University of NSW alumnus, Mr Crawford was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) in the 2014 Australia Day Honours list for outstanding public service within the public health system, particularly for the North Coast and Northern Rivers communities of NSW.

by Andrew Binns, GP Speak clinical editor

Many obese/morbidly obese Americans have been identified as suffering physical, sexual or verbal abuse, or other adverse trauma, in their childhood, according to a milestone study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Adverse Child Experience (ACE) Study found that living with an alcoholic or drug taking parent or a mentally ill family member, or experiencing rape or other physical assault, can also be triggers for weight gain in later life (as well as other chronic diseases). The prevalence of this connection is only starting to be recognized by clinicians, including GPs and counselors, with presentations suggesting that the Australian experience parallels the USA’s.

Spring has sprung, and it’s time for us to prepare to spring into it - let’s be more active, and shed any extra pounds gained over the winter months. Anthony Franks (page 9) shows us the way with the Bundjalung Burners, a local group of Aboriginal people embarking on a lifestyle program focussing on healthy cooking, eating and following a group exercise program with friends and family. 

NCPHN logo

July 1st marked the first day of the next organisation to support the delivery of primary health care on the NSW North Coast. The PHN, the organisation whose name may not be spoken, (due to potential legal disputes with the long established medical corporate, Primary Health Care) has replaced Labor's Medicare Local.

The continuing restructuring of these support organisations has long been contentious and seemingly occurs with each change in government. These reorganisations are accompanied by a new name that reflects the new government's views and philosophies.