South Australian smokers are encouraged today (Friday, May 31) to put down the cigarettes for World No Tobacco Day as a step towards quitting smoking for good.
Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) state director Marina Bowshall said tobacco smoking is one of the greatest causes of preventable death in Australia, with about 22 South Australians dying each week.
"Smoking increases the risk of different cancers and diseases including heart disease, heart attack and stroke, lung diseases such as emphysema, poor blood circulation in feet and hands, diabetes and other serious medical conditions," Ms Bowshall said.
"Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health, but breaking the habit can be hard and that's why it's important to remember relapsing is part of the quit journey for most people.
Fortunately, the South Australian Population Health Survey reveals a significant decrease in smoking prevalence in SA since 2017, with daily smoking rates reducing from 13.9 per cent in 2017 to 8.6 per cent in 2018.
Northern Adelaide LHN head of respiratory medicine Dr James Geake said the theme for World No Tobacco Day is tobacco and lung health, which aims to raise awareness about the negative impact that tobacco has on lung health.
"Tobacco smoke not only has major implications for the lung health of smokers, but also for non-smokers, and passive smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and SIDS along with a range of other chronic health conditions," Dr Geake explained.
"When you quit, you start to reduce the chances of illness and disease caused by smoking cigarettes so every attempt is a step in the right direction.
"It is normal to have withdrawal symptoms but there are ways you can manage cravings such as taking deep breaths, drinking water or going for a walk," he said.
There are many resources available to assist with quitting including the Be Smoke Free website, Quitline and the 'My QuitBuddy' personalised app.
According to SA Health, smokers who use Quitline can double their chances of successfully quitting.
Those wanting more information or needing support can call the confidential Quitline telephone service and speak to a qualified Quit counsellor on 13 78 48 or visit www.besmokefree.com.au.