A new campaign has been launched to encourage Victorian parents to quit smoking.
The campaign was launched at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute this morning, where its centrepiece - two emotive new television advertisements - were unveiled by Victorian Health Minister John Thwaites.
Quit Victoria's Executive Director Todd Harper says the campaign adopts a new approach in the fight to reduce smoking rates.
""This new campaign depicts very powerfully the personal and emotional impact that smoking-caused illnesses have on the lives of smokers.""
Mr Harper says the campaign is aimed at parents based on data that shows that about one third of Victorian smokers - or about 276,000 smokers - are parents.
""Sadly, illness and death caused by smoking affect many Victorian families. Every day one young Victorian loses a parent to a disease caused by smoking. Smoking is responsible for around 4700 deaths each year in Victoria, or 13 Victorians every day""
""The greatest tragedy about these deaths is that they are preventable.""
Professor David Hill of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria’s Cancer Control Research Institute says it’s hoped the new campaign may impact on youth smoking.
Professor Hill says a recent study of Victorian secondary students found that students whose parents both smoke are twice as likely to be current smokers than students from families where neither parent smokes.
""Children’s smoking is strongly modelled on the smoking behaviour of their parents. If we can help more adult smokers quit, this will not only improve the smoker’s health in the long term, but hopefully reduce the likelihood their children will start smoking.""
Professor Hill said a US study found that adolescents whose parents had quit smoking were one third less likely to ever smoke, and twice as likely to quit compared to adolescents with a parents who still smoked.
Mr Harper said it’s also important that smokers realise that the harm caused by smoking can strike early.
""A key message that we want to give smokers is that not everyone who dies from a smoking-related illness is old.""
""Recent statistics show that one third of those who die from smoking related heart disease, and one quarter of those who die from smoking related cancer are aged between 35 and 64.""
""On average, smokers who die in middle age lose an average of 21 years of life - that’s a lot of time that could be spent with family and loved ones.""
Mr Harper says the new campaign builds on the highly successful National Tobacco Campaign 'Every cigarette is doing you damage’ and promotes the Quitline as a free service to help smokers.
""Quitting smoking is not easy, but there is help and support available to smokers who want to quit,"" Mr Harper said.
""I’d urge any smoker who wants to quit to call the Quitline on 131 848 and make use of the free resources and support available to help you through the process.""
The new campaign has been developed jointly by Quit Victoria and Quit South Australia with funding support from the Victorian and South Australian Governments.
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