Smoking accounts for 17 deaths per day in Australia, with tobacco users three times as likely to die from stroke, heart attack and heart failure compared to people who have never inhaled a cigarette.
A chilling seven-year long study led by Australian National University Professor Emily Banks has revealed at least 30 per cent of strokes could be prevented if smoking was to be wiped.
The team of 10 researchers examined 188,167 CVD and cancerfree individuals aged over 45 and found although smoking rates have significantly decreased, the addictive habit remains responsible for a “substantial portion of premature CVD events”.
Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Member Associate Professor Seana Gall said too many Australian families continue to be devastated by preventable stroke and heart disease related deaths.
“This study shows even those smokers who averaged five cigarettes a day, were doubling their risk of stroke compared to non-smokers,” Associate Professor Gall said.
“It doesn’t matter what age you are or how many cigarettes you smoke, they are all causing harm, but the good news is by quitting, individuals can reverse this damage and live a long healthy life.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide.
In 2017, 43,447 deaths in Australia were attributable to diseases of the circulatory system, making up 27 per cent of all deaths in the population.
From 2015-16, more than 1.1 million hospitalisations were due to cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is commonly associated with lifestyle risks such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood
pressure, diabetes, inactivity, being overweight, unhealthy foods and depression.
Around 2.7 million Australians currently smoke, with CVD accounting for 6400 deaths annually.
Professor Banks’ study is the largest study of smoking and cardiovascular disease ever undertaken by a team of researchers.