September 16, 2016


Launceston community backs QUIT4october™ to help friends and family quit smoking for good

Throughout September and October, residents of Launceston are being called on to encourage friends and family who smoke to sign up to a new national Lung Foundation Australia smoking cessation and social media initiative, QUIT4october™.

QUIT4october program is proven one month-long quit smoking program dedicated to helping people to quit smoking with the support of their GP and pharmacist in October. Research that shows that if a smoker can quit for a month, they are more than five times more likely to become a permanent ex-smoker1.

Tasmania has been selected as a priority state for the QUIT4october activity as it has the second highest smoking rate (17.9 per cent) in Australia2.

The Tasmanian Government has committed to addressing the increased prevalence of smoking after Tasmania was the only state to have an increased smoking rate between 2010 to 20133.

City of Launceston Mayor Albert Van Zettan said they recently adopted Healthy Tasmania, a five-year strategic plan, identified smoking as one of its key health priorities.

“We know 75 per cent of smokers want to quit 4,5 and 40 per cent try at least once per year,4” Councillor Van Zettan said.

“Launceston is delighted to be participating in this important program and I urge our community to join together and turn intention to action,” he said.

“Working together at a community level to encourage people to quit smoking is a vital step forward in promoting healthy living and preventing disease for a great number of people in Launceston.

“That’s why we are urging Launceston’s more than 15,5002 smokers to sign up for QUIT4october which starts on Saturday 1 October 2016 at”

Central to QUIT4october program is an interactive website which has information about quitting smoking, an online lung health check and a downloadable checklist to support the conversations with GPs or pharmacists. Importantly, the QUIT4october program will deliver ongoing messages of support through regular emails and texts, to those who sign up for the Quit4October campaign.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said quitting smoking can be a lonely and isolating journey. That’s why QUIT4october focuses on providing support for people starting their quit journey, whether it is their first or their fiftieth attempt”.

“We want people to know they are not alone and we, and their health professional, are there for them,” Mrs Allan said.

“Quitting smoking was one of the best things you could do for your health, regardless of how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking. Stopping smoking decreases the risk of lung and other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic disease,6” she said.

Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn said research showed the most successful way to quit smoking is with the support of a healthcare professional.

“Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 30 per cent of those that use healthcare professional support and stop-smoking medication,10,11” Associate Professor Mendelsohn said.

“Talking to a GP or pharmacist about a personalised quit smoking plan will motivate you, teach practical quitting skills and build a supportive environment for the quitting journey. Using medication as part of your quit smoking plan will also increase your chances of quitting by up to three times,12  and will ease the physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal and reduce cravings,”13 he said. 

The QUIT4octoberTM program is championed by Lung Foundation Australia and proudly supported by Pfizer Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, National Asthma Council Australia and Australian Association Smoking Cessation Professionals.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya West 0406 907 845 Email:

Daniella Goldberg Tel: 0416 211 067 Email:


Notes to Editors: 

About QUIT4october™
QUIT4october is a month-long initiative dedicated to helping people quit smoking with the support of their healthcare professional. People who smoke can visit to download information resources and register their participation to receive emails or texts messages of support. The campaign will be promoted via traditional and social media in addition to local community events at certain locations to encourage people to support the initiative.


Stop Smoking – The Facts

  • Approximately three million Australians (nearly 16 per cent of those aged 14 or older) continue to smoke tobacco.8
  • For every year you continue to smoke after 35 you shorten your life expectancy by three months. 11
  • If you quit smoking at 40 years of age, you gain nine years of life and at 60, you gain four years.12
  • Your risk of a heart attack falls by half three to four years after quitting.12
  • The average weight gain after quitting is only two to three kilograms over a five year period13 however one in five quitters actually loses weight.14
  • If you quit smoking a pack of cigarettes a day you are likely to save around $6,500 per year. 15



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  3. Department of Health, Tobacco Control Key facts and figures
  4. Mullins R., Borland R. Do smokers want to quit? Aust N Z J Public Health 1996; 20(4):426-7.
  5. Accessed Spetember 2015
  6. US Department of Health and Human Services. The health benefits of smoking cessation. A report of the Surgeon General. DHHS Publication No CDC 90-8416. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public 1 Health Service, Centres for Disease Control, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 1990
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  12. Teo KK, Ounpuu S, Hawken S, et al. Tobacco use and risk of myocardial infarction in 52 countries in the INTERHEART study: a case-control study. Lancet. 2006; 368(9536): 647-658.
  13. Tian J, Venn A, Otahal P, Gall S. The association between quitting smoking and weight gain: a systemic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Obes Rev. 2015.
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  15. Access September 2015