Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of cancer burden in Australia, attributable for an estimated 11,308 new cases of cancer and 8,155 cancer deaths in 2005. A more recent study estimated 15,525 (13%) cancers in Australia in 2010 were attributable to tobacco smoke. Smoking causes an estimated 22% of the nation’s cancer disease burden each year. Two of every three deaths in current smokers can be directly attributed to smoking.
There is a link between tobacco and 16 different cancer types and a wide range of further conditions. However, lung cancer is the predominant cause of tobacco-related disease and accounts for more than a third (35%) of the tobacco-related burden of disease in Australia.
Smoking rates in Australia have declined substantially in recent decades. In 1945, 72% of Australian males and 26% of Australian females smoked. By 1991, the proportion of Australians smoking daily was 24.3; this declined further to 12.8% in 2013.
This chapter focuses on the impact of smoking, it's link to cancer, the policy context and the interventions required to further reduce the population health harms of tobacco use in Australia. It also outlines Cancer Council Australia's policy priorities for reducing the tobacco-related cancer burden in Australia.
For further information on the major issues in smoking and health in Australia, see Tobacco facts and issues, produced by Cancer Council Victoria.
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