World No Tobacco Day 2021 – Helping more Australians quit smoking
May 31, 2021
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With around 20,000 Australians dying each year from tobacco-related illnesses, the Australian government is investing $ 3 million through Cancer Council Victoria in a new national nicotine cessation best practice support service to ensure that these healthcare professionals have up-to-date, evidence-based resources.
Other initiatives in Budget 2021–22 to encourage people to quit smoking include the expansion of telehealth and in-person services to increase patient access to general practitioner visits.
Research shows that the support of a healthcare professional dramatically improves a smoker’s chances of successfully quitting.
There has never been a better time to quit smoking. The World Health Organization notes that smokers have a 40 to 50% higher risk of developing serious illness and dying from COVID-19. Quitting smoking now could reduce the severity of the disease for anyone who contracts COVID-19.
There is also strong evidence that quitting smoking improves mental health, reducing depression, anxiety, and stress.
From Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys, we know that 13.8% of Australian adults smoke tobacco daily. However, among Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, this rate is more than double, 37%, making it the main contributor to the disease.
Smoking is responsible for half of all deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 45 or older. Reducing smoking in this population remains a public health priority.
The Aboriginal Tobacco Control Program began in 2010 and has helped reduce the daily smoking rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from about 50% to 37%.
The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, a service provider for the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, is the recipient of the 2021 World No Tobacco Day award from the World Health Organization for the Deadly Choices program, recognizing his achievements in tobacco control .
Quitting smoking is not always easy, but help is available and the benefits are considerable. It’s never too late to quit smoking. The younger you are and the sooner you quit, the better. It is also best to never start.
To get help quitting smoking:
- talk to your trusted healthcare professional
- call Quitline – 13 78 48
- visit www.quit.org.au, and
- download the free My Quitbuddy app.
World No Tobacco Day is an initiative of the World Health Organization and has been celebrated on May 31 since 1988.