Quit Victoria hopes that new research highlighting the devastating impact of tobacco, will lead to better policies and funding to address Victoria's number one health problem.
Executive Director Todd Harper said he congratulated the Victorian Government for releasing the Victorian Burden of Disease report, saying it would be invaluable in directing resources into areas with greatest need.
'Quitting smoking must be a top public health priority because these programs deliver huge benefits in a relatively short space of time,' Mr Harper said.
'For example, the risk of death by heart attack drops by 50 per cent just 12 months after quitting smoking.'
Mr Harper said he endorsed Mr Thwaites' call for programs to target low-income areas.
'In the area of smoking, it is clear that mass media advertising programs are an effective tool in getting smokers to quit, and these can also be targeted carefully for greatest impact amongst low-income smokers,' he said.
'One of the best resources is the Quitline service, which is a free service available to all Victorians and gives people a much better chance of successfully quitting.'
'We should not forget that low-income smokers who quit also receive an effective after tax pay rise of about $2600 per annum - the cost of a year's supply of cigarettes.'
Mr Harper said other initiatives such as workplace quitting programs, tailored programs for indigenous and migrant communities, expanded quitline services, and smokefree workplaces would also assist in lowering Victoria's smoking rates.
Mr Harper said the impact of smoking was not restricted to poor health outcomes.
'It has been estimated that smoking is costing Victoria's 100 largest employers alone $80m a year in employee absences, and costs the entire Victorian community more than $3.2 billion a year,' he said.
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