Every year, about 19,000 Australians die from diseases caused by smoking and about one third of these deaths occur in middle age. One in two lifetime smokers will die from smoking.
In Queensland, there are on average an estimated 3,402 deaths per year attributable to tobacco smoking.
Tobacco smoke is a mixture of over 4,000 chemicals which can reach the brain, heart and other organs within 10 seconds of the first puff. Many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke can cause cancer.
The harmful constituents of tobacco smoke include:
Tobacco smoking can harm almost every organ in the body but because it happens gradually, it is difficult to notice. The strain tobacco smoking puts on the body often causes years of suffering.
Smoking is a proven risk factor for a range of fatal and debilitating diseases and conditions including cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. Some of the key medical conditions related to smoking are:
An illness that destroys the lungs. People with emphysema often get bronchitis and suffer lung and heart failure. Emphysema cannot be reversed. Research shows that about 94 per cent of long-term smokers who smoke more than a package of cigarettes a day will develop some degree of emphysema.
Lung and other cancers
Caused by the chemicals in tar. Overall, smokers are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers. While smoking is widely recognised as causing lung cancer, it also increases the risk of cancer of the lips, tongue, mouth, nose, oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix, vulva, penis and anus.
Heart disease and stroke
Smoking is a major cause of heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. It is estimated that 13 per cent of deaths from cardiovascular disease are caused by smoking. This is approximately 6,600 deaths in Australia each year
The impact of smoking, however, is not just a question of length of life. Long-term smokers suffer more diseases and disability before they die at a younger age. In addition to the crippling effects of chronic obstructive lung disease and stroke, disabilities exacerbated by smoking include reduced mobility from arthritis, diabetes, and vision and hearing loss.
For more information about the health effects of tobacco smoking, see the 'smoking and your body' section of the Quitnow website. Further information is also provided in the information resources below.
For more information about tobacco smoking:
For more information, or to obtain these resources, contact the Quitline 13 QUIT (13 7848) or the Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20.
Smoking during pregnancy means that toxic chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream and passed onto your baby through the umbilical cord.
This increases the risk of miscarriage, premature labour and complications during birth. It also increases your baby’s risk of dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or having low birthweight, making your baby vulnerable to health problems in infancy and early childhood.
Quitting smoking at any stage during pregnancy has immediate benefits. Quitting will reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and will also reduce risks to your baby’s health and development.
For more information about smoking and pregnancy including advice and support to quit, speak to your doctor or contact the Quitline 13 QUIT (13 7848), 24 hours, 7 days a week.
The following resources may also be useful:
Baby and You Booklet. This resource is also available by contacting the Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20.