‘Double win’: quit smoking for yourself and help the planet - Institute for Respiratory Health

‘Double win’: quit smoking for yourself and help the planet

To coincide with World No Tobacco Day, Tuesday 31 May, Professor Fraser Brims Deputy Director at the Institute for Respiratory Health reaffirms the harmful effects of smoking on our health and our planet.

The World Health Organization’s theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day campaign is “tobacco: threat to our environment.” Professor Fraser Brims said, “People who take the step towards improving their health by quitting smoking are giving themselves a huge gift as it is the most common cause of lung cancer. The fact that quitting helps to protect the planet is a double win.”

Globally 1.8 million deaths are caused by lung cancer annually. Lung cancer is the second biggest killer in Australia. Each year around 7,400 men and 6,300 Australian women are diagnosed with lung cancer and unfortunately, survival is low with more than 9,000 Australians dying from the disease.

“Lung cancer kills more Australians than breast, prostate and ovarian cancers combined,” said Professor Fraser Brims.

“Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer and many other cancers and diseases.

“But tobacco not only harms the smoker – it also harms others through second-hand smoke and the environment,” said Professor Brims.

“Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20 – 30 per cent.

“And then there is the impact on our environment. For every 300 cigarettes made, one tree is cut down. 6 trillion cigarettes are made each year.

“E-cigarettes – heavily promoted as an alternative to combustible smoking – also contribute to polluting our planet – e-cigarette waste isn’t recyclable.

“And even worse, our research shows that teen e-cigarette smokers are likely to start smoking tobacco.

“All of these factors have a significant detrimental impact on the health of all Australians and our planet.

“It’s the Institute’s job to find treatments and potential cures for lung cancer and other lung diseases through research.

“Research shows that lung-cancer screening can save lives. It increases the chances of finding lung cancer in its earliest most curable stage.

“We’re lobbying the Government to support a Western-Australian wide lung cancer screening program to save lives. But also, to take a strong regulatory approach to e-cigarettes, particularly to protect youth.”