July 3, 2019 - 18:23 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Smoking is killing at least 17 Australians a day from preventable heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular conditions, new research led by The Australian National University (ANU) has found.
The study, the most in-depth in the world, shows for the first time how smoking harms all of the cardiovascular system - the heart and major blood vessels.
Lead researcher, Professor Emily Banks from the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, said the study examined the impact of smoking for every possible cardiovascular disease.
"That includes investigating the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, heart muscle disease, rhythm problems, and gangrene in Australians from every walk of life: men, women, city, country, rich, poor," Professor Banks said.
"We found there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Smoking causes terrible harm across the board.
"Our study shows that a population almost twice the size of Port Douglas is being wiped out in Australia each year - with smoking causing more than 6,400 cardiovascular deaths, including from heart attack and stroke."
CEO of the Heart Foundation John Kelly said: "This new evidence is disturbing. It demonstrates that our battle to eliminate the devastation tobacco brings to people's lives is far from over.
"We urge the Government to maintain tobacco control as a high priority and look forward to seeing it feature strongly in the new Prevention Strategy recently announced by the Minister for Health."
The research team tracked around 190,000 Australian smokers and non-smokers participating in the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study for 36 different types of cardiovascular disease over seven years.
The study found smoking also causes 11,400 coronary heart hospitalisations a year - 31 per day.
"There are around 2.7 million smokers in Australia today," said Professor Banks.
"Those smokers have around triple the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to people who have never smoked, and double the risk of a heart attack, a stroke or heart failure. They are also five times more likely to develop peripheral cardiovascular diseases like gangrene.
"If a smoker has a heart attack or a stroke, it is more likely than not that it was caused by smoking."