South Western Sydney Local Health District Health Promotion Service Acting Director Karen Wardle used World No Tobacco Day (May 31) to send a message to smokers: it's never too late to quit.
"Even after years of smoking you can still improve your health within minutes of your last cigarette. The longer a person goes without smoking, the more benefits they reap in the years to come,'' said Ms Wardle, who confirmed smoking prevalence remained high in the community.
"I recommend people talk to their GP or call the NSW Quitline, even if they are not quite ready to quit."
Ms Wardle said a range of local resources were available to help people who wanted to quit smoking but were not sure of where to start.
- The NSW Quitline (13 7848) is a free confidential telephone service with smoking cessation counsellors in English, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese, with Aboriginal Quitline Advisors also available.
- South Western Sydney Local Health District provides a Quit For New Life smoking cessation program that supports any family who are pregnant or have had a child under three. The program provides vouchers for free Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Details: 4634 3054.
- The website www.icanquit.com.au provides up-to-date information and personalised quitting advice.
- NSW Health hospitals offer support for patients to manage their nicotine dependence while in hospital.
Tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia and can lead to cancer, heart disease and stroke. Two in three lifetime smokers will die from a disease caused by their smoking.