Two-thirds of Australian smokers die as a direct consequence of smoking, according to data collected by the Sax Institute for the '45 and Up Study'.
The four-year analysis is the largest ongoing study of healthy aging that has ever been conducted in the Southern Hemisphere, and features the health records of more than 200,000 people. This is also the first time long-term Australian smoking data has been studied.
Australia is currently experiencing a 'mature epidemic' as historic levels of smoking take their toll. Smoking in Australia reached a peak popularity in 1945 for men and 1978 for women, and the long-term effects are only just being realised.
The study, supported by the National Heart Foundation of Australia in collaboration with Cancer Council NSW, found that over the four year follow-up period, current smokers were three times more likely to die than people who had never smoked.
In addition to this, current smokers are cutting at least 10 years off their lifespans.
Although the risk of death increased with the number of cigarettes smoked, co-author of the study Associate Professor Freddy Sitas spoke of the danger still present for lighter smokers.
"Even among less heavy smokers – those smoking an average of 10 cigarettes per day – the risk of death was more than doubled," he said.
"People don't realise how damaging even light smoking if for your health – increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease, lung disease and a range of other conditions."
Research still indicates that quitting smoking at a young age can decrease the possibility of a smoking-related death and fortunately, the younger you are when you stop, the better.
If you're considering quitting smoking and taking steps towards improving your health and wellbeing, consider purchasing health insurance.
For advice and information on Australian health insurance, contact the team at HICA today.