SMOKING STATISTICS – & How to QUIT FOREVER*
In 2009, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health released their annual report regarding the Australian population and their smoking habits (www.smokingstatistics.org/, click on Australian Smoking Statistics in 2009).
According to their report, Australia has approximately 5.3 million smokers. On average, they each smoke 18 cigarettes per day (in all, smoking 34,821 million cigarettes a year!). 30% of men smoke and 27% of women smoke. By age 15, 25% of boys and 28% of girls are regular smokers.
The council reports that smoking kills more people in Australia than the total number killed by alcohol, drug use, homicide, suicide, automobile accidents and airplane crashes.
Surveys have established that up to 80% of smokers want to stop smoking.
In Australia, between 1940 and 1950, 72% of men were smokers. This fell to 40% in 1980, then to 30% in 1989. The number of women smokers fell from 31% to 27% from 1980 to 1989.
With the increasing awareness of the negative side effects of tobacco smoking, the banning of smoking in the workplace and so many other places such as transport, clubs etc., and with the Australian Government approving policies to ban smoking in public places, we can only hope that statistics will continue to fall.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (www.abs.gov.au), in the document Tobacco Smoking in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05, states the following:
· Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia (Cancer Council 2006)
· Smoking is a key risk factor in the three diseases that cause most deaths in Australia: ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and lung cancer. Smokers are also at increased risk of developing chronic pulmonary disease and reduced lung function.(DoHA 2006)
· Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for both mother and child. (DoHA 2006)
· Smoking is responsible for 80% of all lung cancer deaths and 20% of all cancer deaths (smoking has been linked to cancers of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach and cervix, among others). (DoHA 2006)
· Passive smoking. The breathing in of tobacco smoke by non-smokers can lead to harmful health effects in the unborn child, and middle ear infections and bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and other chest conditions in children. It is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In adults, passive smoking can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other chronic lung diseases. (Queensland Health 2006)
The ABS also point out the following: “Results from the 2004-05 NHS indicate that smoking tends to be reported alongside other lifestyle risk factors. Adult smokers have generally higher levels of risky/high risk alcohol consumption, lower daily fruit and vegetable intake and lower levels of exercise than ex-smokers and those who reported never smoking.”
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
The American Heart Association points out that:
· After one year off cigarettes, the extra smoking-related risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half, and by 15 years without smoking, the risk is similar to that for people who have never smoked.
· In five to 15 years, the risk of stroke for ex-smokers returns to the level of those who have never smoked.
· Male smokers who quit between the age 35 to 39 add a average of five years to their lives. Female smokers who quit in this age group add three years. Men and women who quit at ages 65 to 69 increase their life expectancy by one year.
Add to this, the cost saving!
How Difficult is it to Quit?
In an extensive study carried out in 1970’s by myself while pioneering (in Australia) hypnotherapy as an effective form of treatment (Medical Journal of Australia, 1974, July 13), it was shown that when a positive decision is made to quit smoking (by the smoker him/herself):
· about one third of a random population of smokers can do so without difficulty. If individuals in this group have some form of intervention, such as a single session of hypnotherapy or acupuncture or use, say, a homoeopathic remedy, they believe that the ‘treatment’ gave the excellent result, and of course strongly recommend such treatment to others who want to stop smoking. The reality is they could have quit by simply stopping, without other intervention. It is true that any ‘treatment’ in this would also have a strong placebo effect (see my December 2009 newsletter Positive Thinking for the New Decade).
· another third are able to quit, but they need more intensive treatment, such as several sessions of hypnotherapy or acupuncture, or joining a support group.
· the last third have the most difficulty in quitting, and many fail to be successful in spite of extensive therapeutic intervention.
How to Quit Smoking … Forever
· Make a Plan
Decide on your “Quit Day”. Mark it on your calendar and begin to prepare yourself mentally. Be fully informed as to the health and other benefits (like saving money) and know clearly why it is that you want to stop. Ideally, choose a time when stress in your life is at a minimum. It can also help to cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke leading up to Q-Day.
· Consider Agreeing to a no-smoking Contract
Completing and signing a no-smoking contract in front of witnesses will support your decision.
· Consider Joining a Support Group
There are lots of self-help options. Joining a stop-smoking group can supply the support to enable you to be successful in quitting, especially if you are in the third group referred to above.
· Consider Undertaking a Therapy
There is no doubt that a therapy such as hypnotherapy, acupuncture, supportive counselling or even such things as Yoga can help to bring about a successful outcome.
· Adopt a Positive Lifestyle
After you quit, and in the days leading up to your Q-Day, it is important to eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and get adequate rest and sleep. Daily exercise can help improve your mood and reduce your urge to replace cigarettes with unhealthy foods.
· Clear your Environment
Quitting is not only a mental and physical body process -- it also needs attention around your environment as well. This means that it is important to clear your home of all smoking-related items, including extra cigarettes, matches, lighters, ash trays etc. Do a thorough check of your home, office and car to remove all of these items.
On stopping smoking, especially if you are addicted to it, there will be withdrawal symptoms. Craving will head the list. There may also be feelings of tiredness, light-headed-ness, irritability, headaches and nervousness, to list some of the common ones. Know that these feelings are normal, and may last for several weeks, but that they will eventually pass.
As you reach and maintain your goal to quit smoking, it is worthwhile to mark each milestone (this may be each day, each week and then each month you are smoke-free) by treating yourself to a favourite activity. Watch a special DVD, visit with friends or engage in one of your hobbies to reward your success.
There are significant health hazards from cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, including passive smoking. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in Australia. For every person who dies from smoking, 20 more people suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.
The best way to prevent these tobacco-related illnesses, of course, is to quit smoking.
There are two types of ‘non-smokers’. The first is a smoker who is not smoking. The second is a non-smoker. A smoker who is currently not smoking can always start again. Whereas as non-smoker does not and will not smoke.
Aim to change from being a smoker (whether smoking or not) to become a non-smoker (one who never smokes).
*Copyright 2010 The Huntly Centre
Disclaimer: All material in the Huntlycentre.com.au website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
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