Tobacco is the preventable health risk responsible for the greatest burden of disease in Australia according to a report published today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The report, which looks at levels of death and disability from a variety of diseases, injuries and health risks, found that of 14 preventable health risks examined tobacco ranked highest in terms of disease burden.
Acting Director of Quit Victoria, Ms Suzie Stillman said the report provided a timely reminder that we cannot afford to regard tobacco use as a public health problem that has already been solved.
"Tobacco use still claims around 16 000 lives in Australian every year, and while we have seen a lot of progress in the recent years in relation to tobacco control, this report shows there is still more to be done."
"Although smoking rates have declined impressively over the last few decades we simply cannot become complacent in relation to tobacco control."
"Smoking is killing too many Australians every year. It is making too many Australians chronically and terminally ill, and it is still too tempting for young Australians to take up the killer habit."
Ms Stillman said if we were to achieve further reductions in smoking rates, it would not only mean a significant improvement in health outcomes for Australians but also a substantial reduction in health care costs.
According to Ms Stillman, quit smoking mass media campaigns play a crucial role in encouraging smokers to quit and preventing young Australians from taking up the habit.
"Research consistently shows the social marketing campaigns are one of the most effective strategies for reducing smoking rates in the community."
"By communicating a quit smoking mass media message to adults you get a two for one flow on effect, because young people also respond to these messages," said Ms. Stillman.
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