AFTER smoking for 40 years, Grafton resident Christine Goss's one wish is to never have started in the first place.
After decades of smoking the health consequences have caught up and Ms Goss says she feels like she is playing with her mortality.
"I just can't give up. The addiction is terrible," Ms Goss said.
Ms Goss said she heavily relied on cigarettes in the past decade, which was especially stressful for her.
I felt like I was going to die every day.
Shortly after she found out she was adopted, her father passed away in 2004 and mother in 2007.
Ms Goss said her doctor prescribed her Champix to help get over her addiction, which meant she could not take her anti-depressants.
"When I wasn't on the anti-depressants and taking Champix, I felt like I was going to die every day," she said.
"Now that I'm on the anti-depressants and off the Champix, I think if I die, bugger it."
Smoking started for Ms Goss at 13-years-old.
Her and some girlfriends threw in 20c for a packet because they thought it was cool to smoke.
"I'm looking at the cigarette packet now and it is a foot covered in gangrene," she said.
"The addiction is so strong that you're in denial.
"If the Government was serious they would ban them so everyone was forced to give up."
Study delivers jolt for smokers
SIXTY-six per cent of Clarence Valley smokers have an early death sentence, according to a study published yesterday in the international journal BMC Medicine.
It was previously believed half would die because of their habit.
Australian National University researcher Professor Emily Banks - the scientific director of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study - said direct evidence on smoking and mortality in Australia showed up to 1.8 million of 2.7 million smokers would die from their habit if they continued to smoke.
"Australia can be proud of its remarkable success in cutting population smoking to just 13%, but even with this world-leading result, 2.7 million of us still smoke," Prof Banks said.
"Our findings show that up to two in every three of these smokers can be expected to die from their habit if they don't quit, and this highlights the importance of staying the course on tobacco control."
The study is the result of a four-year analysis of health outcomes of more than 200,000 people participating in the 45 and Up Study. It found smokers would die an estimated 10 years earlier, smoking 10 cigarettes a day doubled the risk of dying prematurely and smoking a pack a day increased the risk by five.
Two in every three of these smokers can be expected to die from their habit if they don't quit.
"These findings are a huge wake-up call for Australia," Prof Banks said.
"We knew smoking was bad, but we now have direct evidence from Australia that shows it is worse than previously thought. Even 10 cigarettes a day will double your risk of dying prematurely."
North New South Wales Local Health District health promotion manager Jillian Adams said the statistics were worse than anticipated. "We used to think half of smokers would end up dying of smoking-related illness," she said.
"It's even more important to get people to quit as soon as possible."
Ms Adams said even light smoking, less than 10 cigarettes a day, was damaging.
"We can definitely improve on 13% of the population smoking. In 1985 it was 35%," she said.
NSW Heart Foundation chief executive Kerry Doyle said the government was on the right path in driving down smoking rates through initiatives such as tax increases and plain packaging.
"Higher tobacco prices have been shown to be the most effective intervention available to governments to reduce demand for tobacco," she said. "With smoking being a major cause of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, the more deterrents people have between them and smoking, the better."
Here's what some of you had to say on Facebook:
David-John Francis: I don't care if other people smoke, but don't smoke at the entrance to Shoppingworld or in the street where I have to walk through it! Keep your lung cancer to yourself. So sick of walking out of Shoppo and into a cloud of filthy cigarette smoke. And yes, do not smoke while you are pregnant or around your children.
Sebastian Rooks: Ex-smoker here. No one ever lit up a smoke and then bashed their wife because of it or killed others in a fatal, drunken car accident. People do far more damage to themselves putting mobile phones next to their brains.
Anna Besestri: It's none of my business what choices an individual makes in regards to this. However, considering the short and long-term health effects of smoking, and that everybody is now educated about it, I'm extremely surprised at the amount of young adults lighting up regularly these days.
Micklin Edwards: I smoke, my choice, my problem and no one else. I am only harming myself and it has no impact on anyone else. Alcohol, on the other side, harms family, kids and others that happen to be around you. You are a danger on the road, you are a danger in public, it affects your thinking and decision-making.
Kathleen Werry: My mum died of lung cancer from smoking when I was 19. If people who smoke would just think of the impact their deaths would have on their loved ones, maybe they'd think twice before lighting up.
Tips to quick the sticks:
- The first thing to do is set a date and stick with it.
- Write down why quitting is a good thing.
- Get some support like a non-smoking buddy.
- Plan ahead to avoid temptation like the morning coffee or afternoon beer.
- Get a jar and watch money build up as an incentive to stop you slipping back.
- Some people can quit cold turkey, but some people need nicotine treatment. Book an appointment with your local GP to arrange a course of treatment.
- Try to think of previous attempts to quit as practice. Learn from past attempts; think about what worked for you and put that into practice during your next attempt.
- Phone the Quitline on 13 78 48 to speak with a professional.
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