Stroke Foundation welcomes tougher tobacco laws

Stroke Foundation has welcomed tougher new laws designed to promote improved community health and reduce tobacco exposure to children coming into effect in Western Australia today.

The new laws will further restrict the sale and advertising of tobacco products, as well as locations where people can smoke.

Stroke Foundation Health Promotion Committee Chair Associate Professor Seana Gall applauded the State Government for taking action to reduce the harm caused by smoking and improving the health of Western Australians.

“Smoking is a key risk factor for stroke, and we are strongly supportive of any measures that will reduce the prevalence of smoking in the community,” Associate Professor Gall said.

“People who smoke are twice as likely to have a stroke compared with those who have never smoked, and the more an individual smokes the greater their risk of stroke.

“Importantly, an individual’s risk of stroke decreases after they quit smoking and stopping smoking has been shown to have both immediate and long-term health benefits.”

More than 5000 strokes will be experienced by Western Australians this year and yet around 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

Associate Professor Gall added Western Australia was among states leading the way in smoking cessation, however tougher laws were only part of the solution.

“Western Australians must be empowered to take control of their health and live well, avoiding stroke and other chronic disease,” she said.

“Tougher laws are part of a solution and must be supported by health checks, education and support.”

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals which are deposited on the lungs or absorbed into the blood stream. Some of these chemicals damage blood vessel walls, causing arteries to narrow and harden. This increases the chance of blood clots forming and causing a stroke.

Research shows two to five years after quitting, there is a large drop in an individual’s risk of stroke, and after 15 years their risk of stroke is similar to that of a person who has never smoked.

Stroke Foundation Western Australian and South Australian State Manager Jonine Collins encouraged Western Australians to look at the law change as an opportunity to give up smoking.

“It’s never too late to take control of your health. Quit smoking, reduce your stroke risk,” she said.

Western Australian were urged to talk to their doctor about quitting or call the National Quitline on 13 78 48 (13 QUIT).

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