Leading Health Experts call for a tobacco-free world by 2040
The Heart Foundation has joined leading public health researchers to call for a turbo-charged effort against the sale and consumption of tobacco. The aim is for united action against the tobacco industry for a tobacco-free world – where less than 5 per cent of adults use tobacco by 2040.
The call coincided with the 2015 World Conference on Tobacco or Health and the release of a major new Series in The Lancet from an international group of health and policy experts.
“Australia is ideally placed to become the first smoke-free country in the Asia Pacific region,” Maurice Swanson, National Heart Foundation spokesperson on Tobacco, said.
“Australia has led the world with the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products, and other countries like Ireland and England are following our example.
“We have also increased the price of tobacco with a series of significant tax increases – one of the most effective ways to reducing smoking in our community.
“Smoking is the single leading cause of preventable death in Australia. It causes 16 different cancers and many other deaths from heart disease, stroke, emphysema and other serious lung diseases.
“Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals and even by-standers are at increased risk from the poisonous chemicals just by breathing in other people’s smoke,” Mr Swanson said.
A recent report supported by the Heart Foundation found that up to 1.8 million of our 2.7 million smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke; an important reminder that the war on tobacco is not yet won.
“Australia can be proud of its remarkable success in cutting population smoking to just 13 per cent but even with this world-leading result, 2.7 million people still smoke and two thirds of those will die from their habit.
“We know that smoking is bad, smokers know that smoking is bad, that’s why we must continue to educate, advocate and convince smokers about the uniquely harmful effects of tobacco,” Mr Swanson said.
The Heart Foundation is equally committed to ensuring the protection of Australians from devices that mimic smoking such as electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes are widely available in Australia but have not been approved for use as a smoking cessation device by the Commonwealth Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.
“E-cigarettes can look enticing but don’t be fooled. They deliver chemical vapour directly to the lungs and the long-term health effects of using these products are unknown.
“Every cigarette you don’t smoke is doing you good and it’s never too late to quit, no matter how old you are or how much you smoke,” Mr Swanson said.
Smokers can call the Quitline on 13 78 48, visit www.icanquit.com.au or speak to their GP or medial practitioner about how to stop smoking.
Media contact: Sofia Dedes, National Media Manager 0478 483 777