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World No Tobacco Day is the perfect time to quit

With more than 100 people from Wide Bay dying due to lung cancer each year, this year’s World No Tobacco Day is a reminder that there’s never been a better time to quit smoking.

As always, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is supporting World No Tobacco Day tomorrow, whose theme this year focuses on the links between tobacco and lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease.

Across Queensland, smoking accounts for about 2.6% of hospital admissions, with some 80% of lung cancer and 75% of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease being due to tobacco smoking.

“The use of tobacco is directly linked to many negative health outcomes, with two out of three smokers dying from a tobacco-related illnesses,” Wide Bay Public Health Physician Dr Margaret Young said.

“The end result of tobacco use is that smokers, on average, die 10 years younger than the rest of the population.”

In Wide Bay, smoking is of particular concern, with the local smoking rate of 16% being significantly above the Queensland average of 12%.

“Regrettably, our high rates of smoking in Wide Bay lead to higher levels of many chronic diseases across the region,” Dr Young said.

“With 179 Wide Bay locals being diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and 128 people dying from the disease each year in Wide Bay alone, this is something we all need to take action on.

“The bottom line is that tobacco will take your breath away, and there’s a strong chance it will also kill you.

“If you’re a smoker, you should really consider taking that first step towards quitting. Call the Quitline or talk to your GP about how to go about it.”

Queensland Health tips for people quitting smoking include:

  • Don’t go it alone – smokers who quit often need support during the days, weeks and months after they’ve stopped smoking. Services such as Quitline (13 78 48) allow you to call and speak to a counsellor about quitting. The counsellor can send you self-help materials to support you as you stop smoking. Quitline will also provide good advice about nicotine replacement options.
  • Understand the realities of quitting – it’s important to be realistic about how you’re going to feel when you quit smoking so that you can plan ahead and not get discouraged if the process is hard. Every smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms in different ways, so be prepared!
  • Avoid triggers and plan ahead – having a plan might make or break your success in quitting smoking. When you’re planning to quit, think about what might tempt you to start smoking again, and ways you can avoid these triggers. For example, if you smoke on your morning tea break, ask a non-smoker to get coffee with you and have a conversation during the time.
  • Quit as a team – It can be easier to keep a commitment if you’re part of a group working towards the same goals. If your workplace is eligible, programs such as Workplace Quit Smoking can help your work team become smoke-free. Or, you might have a group of family members or friends who decide to quit together. This means you’ll be supported by others going through the same process.
  • Keep the bigger picture in mind – When quitting seems tough, keep in mind the reasons you decided to quit in the first place. Make a plan for how you’ll spend the money you’re going to save or start a journal to track the positive changes you notice about your health. Talk to your friends and family about why you’re quitting, and why it’s a good choice that will benefit everyone.

Anyone thinking about quitting can access a range of resources and information via https://www.qld.gov.au/health/staying-healthy/atods/smoking or by calling Quitline on 13 78 48.

Last updated: 26 July 2019