Free forum to help health professionals target tobacco

CANCER Council Queensland is reaching out to disadvantaged communities around Bundaberg who face a higher risk of smoking-related illness and disease through a free forum this month.

Smoking in Disadvantaged Communities, coming to Bundaberg on November 11, will bring together health professionals, researchers and community service workers to discuss the latest strategies to reduce smoking rates in disadvantaged communities.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift invited interested professionals to register their attendance.

"The forum will equip health professionals and frontline practitioners with dedicated information and support strategies," Ms Clift said.

"Our aim is to reduce the high prevalence of smoking in disadvantaged areas.

"Nearly 30 per cent of Australian adults in lower socio-economic groups smoke daily, compared with around 11 per cent of adults living in advantaged areas.

"Reducing smoking rates in disadvantaged communities will not only improve the health of this group, but ease financial stress and social deprivation.

"Latest estimates show the burden of smoking in Queensland costs more than $6 billion every year in health care, lost productivity, and premature death.

"Around 10 Queenslanders die every day from smoking - a tragic toll that is entirely preventable.

"This forum will highlight the needs of disadvantaged communities and identify how organisations can address local challenges."

Tobacco use is responsible for the deaths of around 3700 Queenslanders each year, including 370 deaths from second-hand smoke.

"Smoking rates among some of our most disadvantaged population groups remain much higher - in some case five times higher - than the general population, contributing to poorer health, higher death rates and increased financial stress," Ms Clift said.

"Smoking is also a major contributor to the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and the difference in mortality between the least and most advantaged people in Australia."

The forum will take place on Wednesday, November 11 from 9am - 4pm at Cancer Council Queensland, 312 Bourbong St, Bundaberg.

To register, please phone Cancer Council Queensland's Bundaberg office on (07) 4150 4500.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via www.cancerqld.org.au or call 13 11 20.



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