Cancer Council Australia

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In 2013, 12.8% of Australians aged 14 years or older smoked daily. Two of every three deaths in current long-term smokers can be directly attributed to smoking. Smoking causes an estimated 20% of the nation's cancer disease burden each year.

Studies have shown that risk of dying increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking just 10 per cigarettes per day doubles your risk of dying and smoking more than 25 cigarettes a day increases your risk of dying four-fold compared to those who have never smoked. Current smokers are estimated to die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, over 70 of which are known to cause cancer. When you inhale cigarette smoke these chemicals enter your lungs and spread through your body via blood and lymph systems.

As soon as you quit smoking, there are immediate and long-term health benefits, even if you already suffer from smoking-related health problems. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of dying prematurely with quitting earlier resulting in greater reductions.

Chemicals in tobacco will also affect people who are exposed to your cigarette smoke. Second-hand or passive smoking poses health risks to adults similar to active smoking, and has also been associated with sudden infant death syndrome and asthma in children.

More information about the health risks of passive smoking is available in Cancer Council's position statement on the health risks of passive smoking.

This page was last updated on: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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