Here’s the good news: The rates of smoking are at an all-time low in Australia, essentially halving over the past 20 years, while in New Zealand tobacco consumption is down 23 per cent in just the past five years. This is largely due to the work of the anti-smoking lobby whose efforts have made smoking less desirable and more dangerous (rightly so) in our minds. This was tough going as cigarette companies poured millions of dollars into sponsoring celebrities and even medical doctors to promote their product.
Now some bad news: While smoking rates are falling, one in 10 Australians over the age of 14 still smokes. Smoking kills 15,000 Australians each year, making it the leading cause of preventable death, and costs more than $30 billion in disease care. And in New Zealand, around 5000 people die each year because of smoking or second-hand smoke exposure. That’s 13 people a day.
But here’s further good news: If a smoker quits, their body shows signs of healing—such as lower blood pressure—after just six hours. After 15 years, a former smoker’s risk of heart disease and stroke is about the same as someone who never smoked.
So if you are a smoker, today is a great day to quit and live more!