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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Current tobacco smoking by the NSW population and the consequences for health Volume 15 Issue 5-6

Elayne Mitchell, John Sanders

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 15(6) 87 - 91 Published: 2004

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About the author/s

Elayne Mitchell

John Sanders


The risk factor responsible for the greatest disease burden
in Australia is tobacco smoking, which accounts for
approximately 12 per cent of the total burden of disease
in males and seven per cent in females. Tobacco smoking
contributes to higher drug-related morbidity and mortality
than both alcohol and illicit drug use combined. It is the
leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality,
particularly from: cardiovascular disease; cancers of the
lung, larynx and mouth; and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease. It is estimated that approximately half
of all long-term smokers will die from smoking-related
causes. Smoking while pregnant contributes to an
increased risk of having a low birthweight baby. Exposure
to environmental tobacco smoke is known to be a risk
factor for lung cancer and cardiovascular disease in adults,
and for sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and lower
respiratory disease in children.