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Frequently Asked Questions

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Smoking

Cigarette smoking is one of the most important preventable causes of premature death, killing 20,000 people per year in Australia today.

How does smoking affect health?

Smoking increases your blood pressure, decreases the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol circulating in your blood and increases the tendency for blood to clot. The risk of having a heart attack is increased sixfold in women and threefold in men who smoke compared to non-smokers. It is responsible for around 80% of all lung cancer deaths and 20% of all other cancer deaths. Smokers are also at increased risk of having reduced lung function from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

I’ve been a smoker a long time, is it too late for me to quit?

It’s never too late! Long time smokers often wonder about the benefits of deciding to quit after a lifetime of smoking. They think the negative health effects of smoking have already taken place. Even if you can't completely reverse the damage caused by years of smoking you can get significant improvements to your health almost immediately.

24 hours after quitting smoking you will notice the first health benefits:

  • You will notice your blood circulation improves
  • Your blood pressure is reduced
  • When you measure your pulse rate you will see it is slightly lower

After one month:

  • Your sense of taste improves
  • Your sense of smell slowly returns
  • You will find it easier to exercise because your lung function is better

The risk of suffering a major coronary event 4-6 years or more after quitting cigarette smoking is similar to those who have never smoked, so the time to quit is NOW!

Where can I get help to Quit Smoking?

  • Talk to your pharmacist, GP or specialist about medications to help you quit
  • Smoking Quitline - 131 848
    - located in every state and territory
    - provide free Quit Pack and over the telephone counselling assistance
    - provides counsellors for a range of languages in some states:
    o    Quit Victoria - available in 13 languages other than English, provides The Quit Coach – an internet based smoking cessation program that gives smokers personalized advice
    o    Quit South Australia
    o    Quit Tasmania
    o    Quit Western Australia
  • Cancer Council Helpline – 13 11 20