A new education campaign this year is encouraging South West residents who smoke to quit for
the sake of their health.


South West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Linda Patat said World No Tobacco
Day on 31 May was an opportune time for smokers to reconsider their relationship with
smoking.


Ms Patat said the 2018 Chief Health Officer’s report had found the proportion of adult South
West residents who smoked daily had fallen to 17 per cent, from 22 per cent in 2016.
“This is very heartening and shows the quit smoking message seems to be making headway,’’
she said.


“However, our rate of smoking in the South West is still substantially higher than the 11 per cent
state-wide average. And we’re quitting smoking more slowly than the rest of the state,’’ she
said.


“From 2009 to 2018, we saw a 31 per cent decrease in the number of adult daily smokers
across the state. But the South West did not have the same level of decline, with only a 14 per
cent drop.


“As a health service, we are promoting 2020 as a ‘year of healthy choices’ and one of the
unhealthy behaviours we want to target is smoking.


“We want to encourage South West residents to consider how risk factors such as smoking, as
well as unhealthy weight, inactivity and alcohol consumption are impacting on their health and
lifestyle.


“It’s never too late to quit and we’ve had many success stories in our region of people giving up
smoking once they have realised the full health implications.


“For instance, we had a young woman at Mitchell who fell pregnant and told her Midwife Jacqui
Durose at their initial consultation that she was a 20-cigarettes a day smoker.


“Jacqui explained the health risks of smoking, both to the mum-to-be and to her unborn baby.
They had regular conversations about strategies to quit smoking and monitor progress.
“Finally, at 26 weeks gestation, the young woman announced that she had quit for good – and
has kept to that promise.


“So, as you can see, even if you are a hardened, pack-a-day smoker of many years, you can
still quit, and your health will start to reap benefits immediately.


“The second you quit smoking; your body starts to heal itself. Within 20 minutes, your blood
pressure and heart rate start to recover from the cigarette-induced spike; and within 12 hours
most of the nicotine in your blood stream in gone.


“Within 72 hours, your energy levels will increase and within one month your blood pressure
returns to normal and your ability to fight infection improves, your risk of heart attack decreases
and your circulation and lung function begin to improve.’’


Ms Patat said one of the best motivators to start down the quit smoking path was to be clear as
to why you want to stop.


“Many people may want to quit smoking to set a healthy example for their children, or just feel
better about themselves,’’ she said.


“For others, there’s the financial incentive of saving money – a pack-a-day habit can cost you
about $9000 a year.


“Being clear about your reasons will provide a strong foundation for your quit journey.’’
Ms Patat said the smoking reduction and education campaign was part of the South West
HHS’s ongoing Healthy Communities initiative.


“Our Healthy Communities initiative is designed to help South West residents create, support
and encourage heathy lifestyle behaviours,’’ she said.


“The initiative is a key priority of the South West HHS Strategic Plan. What we want to achieve
is to keep people healthy and avoid them having to come to hospital in the first place.
“As part of our strategic plan, we are focussing on a range of ‘healthy communities’ initiatives
designed to reduce the burden of chronic disease in our region and the rate of avoidable
hospital admissions.


“Unhealthy and risky behaviours, such as smoking, can and do lead to potentially preventable
hospitalisations and premature deaths.


“For instance, lung disease, which makes breathing difficult, is closely associated with smoking.
The best way to treat lung disease or to prevent it is to stop smoking.


“We already know tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature
death in Queensland.


“Two-thirds of deaths in current smokers can be directly attributed to smoking. One-third of
smokers die in middle age, losing at least 20 years of life.


“Exposure to second-hand smoke also causes diseases and premature death in children and
adults who do not smoke.


“Cigarettes are made with more than 7,000 harmful chemicals, and more than 60 of those
chemicals are known to cause cancer. Smokers are also at risk of stroke, heart disease and
heart attack.


“Quitting smoking at any age greatly reduces the risk of disease and death. However, the earlier
people stop, the greater the benefit.


“It’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of and improve their own health and we want to
encourage South West residents to work with their GP and other health service clinicians to
tackle and overcome unhealthy behaviours such as smoking.


“Our message is that you don’t have to accept unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, like smoking.
“Even if you have tried and failed to quit before, never think you won’t get there.
“It’s always worth another try and reaching out and using available support programs will
increase your likelihood of success.’’


Ms Patat said the State Government’s QuitHQ: Where Quitters Click tobacco cessation
campaign had been running since 2018.


“The QuitHQ website is a one-stop shop for quit smoking information and support to empower
Queensland adults to quit smoking. It’s a good place to start your quit smoking journey,’’ she
said.

To start your Quit journey or for further information, visit:
https://quithq.initiatives.qld.gov.au/ 
 Or visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/staying-healthy/atods/smoking/index.html
 Or call Quitline (13 78 48)