May 30, 2015

Lung Foundation Australia wants smokers to ‘butt out’ bad habits on World No Tobacco Day

Lung Foundation Australia encouraged people to prioritise their lung health and ‘butt out’ bad habits on World No Tobacco Day, today.

Acting Lung Foundation Australia CEO Chris Emery 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 had been smoking.

“Tobacco smoking kills more than 15,000 Australians each year; more than breast cancer, AIDS, traffic and other accidents combined,1” Mr Emery said.

“Huge advances have been made in helping people quit smoking, with several methods of quitting available, but the battle is yet to be won,” he said.

“Tobacco smoking remains the single most preventable cause of ill-health and death in Australia and contributes to more deaths and hospitalisations than alcohol and illicit drug use combined.2

“About half of all persistent cigarette smokers are killed by their habit, a quarter of these while still in middle age (35-69 years),3”.

Now 73, and with ongoing lung health problems, Ian Garvie knows how hard it can be to quit.

“Throughout my 40 years of smoking I tried to quit many times,” Mr Garvie said.

“It never lasted because I enjoyed smoking too much and, of course, didn’t realise the damage I was doing to my body,” he said.

“With hindsight, if I knew then what I know now about the damage smoking can do to your body, I probably wouldn’t have smoked at all.

“My advice to anyone who is thinking of quitting is – don’t mess around. Just go for it. You may feel invincible when you are young but as you get older a healthy body helps fight off diseases that might catch up with you.”

Mr Emery said research showed the most effective way to quit is to get ongoing support from a health professional, using a combination of counselling and medicine.5

“Going cold turkey works for some but most people should talk with a health professional who can guide them on what works best when it comes to quitting,” he said.

World No Tobacco Day is held on the 31st of May every year and encourages people to stub out their cigarettes, at least for a day.

For more information on how to quit smoking visit the Lung Foundation Australia website:


To read Ian’s story, visit:



1)    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s Health 2006. Canberra: AIHW, 2006, cat no. AUS 73.

2)    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Australia’s health 2012. Australian’s health series no. 13. Cat. No. AUS 156. Canberra: AIHW

3)    Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH.  Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issue. 3rd Edition. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria, 2008. Available from

4)    Doll, R, et al.  Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years’ observations on male British doctors.  BMJ (Clinical research ed). 2004, Vol. 328, p. 1519.

5)    GOLD. Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Available from: