Smokescreen of shame killing more Queenslanders


QUEENSLANDERS are smoking more than the residents of any other mainland state, and it's killing us.

More than 15 per cent of Queenslanders are daily smokers, compared to the national average of 12 per cent.

It has led to a higher incidence of heart disease, lung cancer and other tobacco-related diseases than in other mainland states.

One in seven deaths in Queensland can be linked to smoking - compared with one in eight nationally.

The stark figures are revealed in an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report to be released today.

Nationally, there have also been very slight increases in the number of daily smokers in some age groups, particularly among women.

Queensland had up to 25 per cent increased chances of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and oesophageal cancer than the national average.

There were 4143 Queenslanders who died in 2015 linked to tobacco use, compared to almost 21,000 nation wide.




While no groups yesterday could say why smoking rates were higher in Queensland, the habit is more common in regional and rural areas throughout the country.

Cancer Council Queensland boss Chris McMillan said tobacco leading cause of preventable disease.

"Queensland smoking rates have dropped dramatically over the past two decades due to sustained government tobacco control strategies - but this report clearly highlights that the job isn't done yet," she said.

"Further action is required to achieve continued declines in smoking, with priority on addressing disparities and reducing smoking associated with geographic isolation, social disadvantage and indigenous status."

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the data in the AIHW report related to 2015, and rates of smoking were continuing to fall.

"In fact, the adult smoking rate in Queensland has halved over the past 20 years," she said.

"The state has also enjoyed a sharp generational shift, with a decline in the youth smoking rate, 18 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016, combined with an increase in those who have never smoked."

The AIHW report showed there had been slight increases in smoking rates between 2013 and 2016 in some age groups, despite an overall decline since 2001.

The number of women daily smokers increased in those aged 30-39 from 10.3 per cent to 11.1 per cent, aged 40-49 increased from 14.5 per cent to 14.8 per cent and aged 50-59 from 13.4 per cent to 14.1 per cent.

The number of male daily smokers increased in those aged 40-49 from 17.9 per cent to 19.1 per cent and aged in their 70s from 6.6 per cent to 7.3 per cent.

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