Smoking-related cancer deaths in Australia will increase by 32% by 2044

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Despite the forecast of lower death rates in the future, a growing and aging population will still see the total number rise.

Smoking is estimated to cause over 250,000 cancer deaths in Australia between 2020 and 2044.


New search estimates that the total number of deaths from smoking-related cancers is expected to increase by almost a third over the next few decades.


The study, produced by the Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney, predicts that smoking will lead to more than 250,000 cancer deaths in Australia from 2020 to 2044, even though death rates for smoking-related cancers among men and women should decrease during this period.


The rise in the total number of deaths has been attributed to Australia’s aging and growing population.


Professor Karen Canfell, lead author and director of the Daffodil Center, said the study indicates that smoking will cause around one in five cancer deaths over the 25-year period.

“Smoking remains by far the leading preventable cause of cancer death,” she said.


“While most of the expected smoking-related mortality burden will occur in the lung, esophageal and respiratory sites, there are many other organs, including the pancreas, liver and bladder, where fatal cancers caused by smoking will increase.


“Because of the lag between tobacco exposure and cancer deaths, historical exposure is also a factor, underscoring the need for both improved tobacco control and new approaches to early detection, including opportunities Emerging Technologies in Targeted Lung Cancer Screening.”


While Australia is considered a “best practice” country in tobacco control, the decline in smoking rates has stalled at around 14% in recent years. Apart from the health impacts, it is also estimated to cost the country about $137 billion each year.


Anita Dessaix, chair of the Cancer Council’s national public health committee and director of cancer prevention and advocacy at the Cancer Council NSW, says the new research sends an urgent message to political leaders.


“We have known for decades that tobacco control is one of the most effective public health interventions, yet we face 250,000 cancer deaths caused by smoking due to complacency in policy reform and lack of anti-tobacco campaigns in recent years,” she said.


“Anti-smoking campaigns have been one of the most successful public health measures in Australia. The landmark National Anti-Tobacco Campaign saved 55,000 lives during its first campaign in the late 1990s and resulted in direct government savings far greater than the initial investment.


“Unfortunately, more than a decade has passed since our last national anti-tobacco campaign. Therefore, we need urgent action from the federal government if we are to have any chance of averting even some of these deaths. preventable by cancer.



The RACGP produced globally recognized smoking cessation instructions which GPs can access to help patients quit smoking.



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