TODAY is World No Tobacco Day - and Macleay smokers are encouraged to consider that the cost of a single packet of cigarettes is enough to feed a family of six for a day.
Cancer Council NSW tobacco control experts are calling for people who smoke to 'Commit to Quit' after calculating that you can feed a large family a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for a whole day for the price of a pack of 25 cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Dr John Hall, president of the Rural Doctors' Association of Australia (RDAA), said While smoking rates continue to fall right around the country, people in rural and regional Australia continue to have the highest rates of smoking, lagging around a decade behind their city counterparts in stubbing out.
Dr Hall said more work was needed to reduce smoking rates in the Bush.
"Smoking is responsible for about 85 per cent of lung cancers, with smokers 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer, 2 to 4 times more likely to have a heart attack and 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have a stroke," he said.
"Smokers are generally more anxious, stressed and depressed than non-smokers... of course this could be related to the premature skin ageing, teeth loss and erectile dysfunction that their smoking has caused.
"The further Australians live from major cities, the more likely they are to smoke daily, according to results from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019."
Cancer Council NSW said World No Tobacco Day should give Macleay residents food for thought.
Tobacco Control Unit manager Alecia Brooks said a Cancer Council team purchased healthy foods in line with Australian Dietary Guidelines for around $50 - the price of an average 25 pack of supermarket-bought cigarettes. The shop consisted of ingredients to make spaghetti bolognaise, cheese and tomato sandwiches, cereal and fruit for breakfast, and veggies and hummus snacks.
"While quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family, we also acknowledge that some people are doing it tough. We want to remind them that quitting is possible, no matter how difficult it may seem and no matter how long you have smoked," Ms Brooks said.
"We also know some people want extra support when they're trying to quit. There are many support options out there should you need an extra hand, including NSW Quitline, GPs and other health professionals - we're here if you need some extra information or guidance."
Smoking currently causes 5300 deaths and 46,000 hospitalisations every year in NSW, and in 2019 11.2 per cent of NSW adults were daily smokers. While there has been a long-term reduction in smoking, since 2015, daily smoking rates have remained relatively stable.
"While we want to support individuals to quit smoking, we know that achieving a smoke-free NSW is only possible if the Government takes action now to create an environment where it is easier for people to quit," Ms Brooks said.
"That includes creating smoke-free environments to protect people from second-hand smoke, limiting the widespread availability of tobacco through retail restrictions, and encouraging people to stop smoking through investment in mass media campaigns."
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