Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Launch of 1996 Quit campaign (A/Min)

    22/05/1996 12:00 AM



    Acting Health Minister Kevin Minson today introduced the people behind the smoking statistics at the launch of the 1996 Quit Campaign.


    This year's Quit commercials feature five Western Australians presently facing serious medical conditions because they smoked.


    "All of these people have agreed to tell their personal stories in an attempt to motivate others to quit before their health is seriously affected by smoking," Mr Minson said.


    "On average each year in Western Australia, surgeons remove 22 voice boxes, five stomachs, 55 lungs, 5 kidneys, two arms and 44 legs solely because the owners of those organs and limbs smoke.


    "While these are shocking statistics, they do not begin to portray the real tragedy of smoking.


    "The real tragedy is the toll in human life and health. Behind these statistics are people - your mother, father, wife, husband, next door neighbour or colleague from work.


    "They are not just statistics but people who are valued and loved in our community."


    Mr Minson said each year 1,565 Western Australians died prematurely from smoking-caused illnesses such as lung cancer, emphysema, heart and cardiovascular disease.


    This results in more than 85,000 hospital bed days being used each year by people suffering smoking-caused illnesses.


    "The total health and social bill from smoking is in excess of $1.3 billion in WA alone," Mr Minson said.


    Head of Respiratory Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Dr Martin Philips also attended the Quit Campaign launch and spoke about attending patients diagnosed with cancer and the effect on their family and friends.


    "In this last week, I have seen four people newly diagnosed with lung cancer," Dr Phillips said.


    "Their shock and horror at the news has been magnified many times in the reactions of their husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and children.


    "Each week I also see and treat many more people who are breathless and disabled from emphysema or chronic bronchitis.


    "Some of these people have difficulty walking down the road or climbing a few stairs; others are so short of breath it may take them half a morning to get dressed or have a shower."


    Since the Quit Campaign began in 1984, the number of adults smoking in WA has fallen by 20 per cent.


    "This means there are now more ex-smokers than smokers in our community," Mr Minson said.


    "The bottom line as far as I am concerned is that those who adopt the `it can never happen to me' line should take the time to consider the grief a diagnoses of lung cancer or other smoking-caused illness will cause their relatives, friends and children.


    "It is not a pretty thought."


    Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9595