Make World No Tobacco Day, May 31, the day you finally give cigarettes the flick.
Health experts from South Western Sydney Local Health District say tobacco smoking is a leading cause of preventable disease and death in Australia, including coronary heart disease, stroke and many cancers.
Mandy Williams, the District’s director of health promotion, said it was never too late for smokers to kick the habit and improve their health.
“Even after years of smoking you can still improve your health within minutes of your last cigarette,” Ms Williams said.
“The longer a person goes without smoking, the more benefits they will reap in the years to come.”
World No Tobacco Day is a World Health Organisation initiative and this year the day highlights the impact tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of smokers around the world.
Ms Williams said the devastating impact tobacco had on cardiovascular health was an added incentive for people to focus on quitting.
“Not only can smoking cigarettes cause harm to the smoker, but people around the smoker can also develop long term health problems,” she said.
“Second hand smoke can cause serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer.”
Ms Williams said using nicotine replacement therapy combined with smoking cessation counselling could double a person’s chances of successfully quitting.
“If you have made a quit attempt before and were unsuccessful, learn what tripped you up and plan some practical strategies to increase your chance of success the next time,” she said.
“Two out of three smokers will die prematurely as a result of smoking. Quitting is your best chance to avoid becoming a statistic.”
The NSW Government allocated more than $6 million in the 2017-18 State Budget for tobacco control including into the Cancer Institute NSW’s Quitline and iCanQuit services.
Enforcement and tough laws have also played a key role in driving down smoking rates, with more than 3,200 tobacco retailers inspected from July 2016 to June 2017.
Tips to increase your success in quitting smoking:
- Use anti-smoking products to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your GP
- Ring the Quitline on 13 78 48 for confidential counselling in a range of languages
- Visit the Quit website www.icanquit.com.au for up-to-date information and personalised quitting advice
- If you are experiencing cravings you can use a short-acting nicotine replacement product. Alternatively, you can do something to distract yourself until the intense cravings stop such as go for a walk or have a glass of water
- Establish a healthy routine including exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.
- Many people are not successful at quitting on their first attempt. So, if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up on making further quit attempts
For support in getting started, contact the Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service, which is a free, confidential telephone-based service for people over the age of 16 years – phone 1300 806 258 or register online www.gethealthynsw.com