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27 May 2018
Tobacco smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease in Australia and the Coalition Government is further committing to reduce the burden on communities.
The Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie is in Alice Springs to launch the next phase of the National Tobacco Campaign and said that smoking related illness devastates individuals, families and the wider community.
“In the lead up World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, today I am pleased to launch the next phase of the Coalition Government’s highly successful campaign Don’t Make Smokes Your Story,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The latest phase of Don’t Make Smokes Your Story continues to focus on Indigenous Australians aged 18–40 years who smoke and those who have recently quit. The campaign also concentrates on pregnant women and their partners with Quit for You, Quit for Two.
“An evaluation of the first two phases of the campaign revealed they had successfully helped to reduce smoking rates.
“More than half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants who saw the campaign took some action towards quitting smoking — and 8 per cent actually quit.
“These are very promising stats, however, we must continue to support and encourage those Australians who want to quit, but need help.”
The launch of the next phase of the campaign aligns with World No Tobacco Day and this year’s theme is Tobacco and heart disease.
“Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, killing one person every 12 minutes,” Minister McKenzie said.
“There is a clear link between tobacco and heart and other cardiovascular diseases, including stroke — a staggering 45,392 deaths in Australia can be attributed to cardiovascular disease in 2015.
“Latest estimates show that tobacco use and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke not only costs the lives of loved ones, but it costs the Australian community $31.5 billion in social — including health — and economic costs.”
“The Coalition Government, along with all states and territories, has made significant efforts to reduce tobacco consumption across the board.
“For example, we know that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounting for more than 12 per cent of the overall burden of illness.
“The Coalition Government has recently invested $183.7 million continuing to boost the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program to cut smoking and save lives.
“This comprehensive program has helped to cut the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people smoking and we want to build on this success.
“The Government’s investment in this program highlights our long-term commitment to Closing the Gap in health inequality.”
The ABS report Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: Smoking Trends, Australia, 1994 to 2014-15, reported a decrease in current (daily and non-daily) smoking rate in those aged 18 years and older from 55 per cent in 1994 to 45 per cent in 2014-15, which shows Indigenous tobacco control is working.
For help to quit smoking, phone the Quitline on 13 7848, visit the Department of Health’s Quitnow website or download the free My Quitbuddy app.
Your doctor or healthcare provider can also help with information and support you may need to quit.
Media contact: Kate Woodbridge 0409 679 924
 Heart Foundation, Heart disease in Australia - https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia