AUSTRALIAN smokers who are trying to avoid a premature tobacco-caused death have access to a range of new materials to help them quit, thanks to the Australian Government.
Cancer Council Australia has commended the Government for the new measures, released on World No Tobacco Day (31 May) and in the wake of recent research confirming that two in three of Australia’s long-term smokers will die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses.
Director of Public Policy at Cancer Council Australia, Paul Grogan, said around 2.7 million Australians smoked – and that on current trends 1.8 million of them would die 10 or so years earlier than they otherwise should, because they smoke.
“The vast majority of smokers became addicted when they were young and wish they could quit,” Mr Grogan said. “We’ve come a long way in reducing smoking rates, yet around 2.7 million Australians remain at serious risk of the 16 cancer types associated with smoking and a number of other tobacco-caused diseases that lead to death.
“The campaign materials and quit resources released by the Australian Government have the potential to assist significant numbers of people to quit – which will mean significant numbers of people living longer, healthier lives.”
Mr Grogan said the resources targeted people at high risk, such as the Indigenous community.
“Increasingly, the burden of tobacco-caused death and disease has fallen disproportionately on people who are already disadvantaged and contributes to a cycle of illness, poverty and disparities in health outcomes,” he said.
“The Government should be commended for tailoring some of these new materials and campaigns to assist people at highest risk.”
Mr Grogan said Cancer Council supported the Government’s goal of reducing smoking prevalence to 10 per cent – currently 12.8 per cent – by 2018 and halving Indigenous smoking rates over the same period.
“We’ve seen a record drop in smoking prevalence over the last reporting period. With continued Government support for a range of tobacco control measures, the 2018 targets are feasible.”