Quitters' resolve soon stubbed out
IT'S one of the most common New Year's resolutions - to give up smoking.
But the vast majority of smokers will crack and start lighting up again before the end of next month.
About 600,000 smokers will try to quit in January, the NSW Cancer Council says. However, only about 14,000 or less than 3 per cent are likely to stay off the smokes for more than a month.
"This illustrates just how tough quitting can be," the council's director of information and support services Gillian Batt said.
"We're encouraging smokers to make it easier on themselves by quitting with a friend, ridding their homes of ashtrays and lighters, and spending the money they'll save from not buying cigarettes on something they thought they'd never afford."
Smoking causes about a fifth of all cancer deaths in Australia and around four out of five smokers insist that they want to kick the habit.
"I think it's a really good time to think about giving up," Ms Batt added. "But we know it's very difficult."
She recommended visiting a GP or pharmacist for advice on nicotine replacement therapies.
A US study has highlighted the perils of passive smoking after finding traces of a carcinogen in urine samples of non-smokers who had spent four hours in a smoky environment.
"We have known for some time that second-hand smoke causes cancer, but this study is really interesting," Ms Batt said. "It lends weight to the call for all pubs and clubs to be smoke-free."
The research, published by the American Association of Cancer Research, was the first to measure tobacco-related carcinogens in non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke in a casino.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer.
In July this year, a smoking ban at bars was introduced and by July 2004 all venues with more than one bar or gambling area must designate one to be smoke-free.
However, the Cancer Council is lobbying for all public places to be smoke-free.
A working party, set up by Frank Sartor, the minister assisting the minister for health (cancer), is due to make recommendations next year.