Tobacco Control

Quitting smoking is good for your health and lifestyle and the health of those around you. It lowers the risk of stroke, cancer or diabetes, or getting chronic breathing problems.

In 2014-15, 20.7 per cent of adults aged 16 years and over in South Western Sydney (SWS) were current smokers compared with NSW (15.6 per cent)

More people were in hospital for smoking-related lung cancer in South Western Sydney (68.5 per 100,000) than the rest of NSW (59.5 per 100,000)

SWS had a higher smoking-related death rate in 2013 (64.9 per 100,000 population) than NSW (60.8 per 100,000 population)

What are the effects of smoking?

Your body

Every time you smoke, the poisonous chemicals in cigarette smoke go into your mouth, lungs, brain and blood.

Your blood carries these poisonous chemicals and they change the way your body operates

Your lungs

On the inside walls of your lungs are tiny little hairs called cilia. They keep your lungs clean and protect them from dust, dirt and germs

The poisonous chemicals contained in cigarette smoke damage your cilia. The more you smoke, the more of your cilia are damaged. Once they are damaged, there is nothing else in your body to protect your lungs

Your brain

When you smoke, it prevents your brain from getting all the oxygen it needs

Your heart

When you smoke, the poisonous chemicals from the cigarette smoke gets into your bloodstream and makes it harder for your blood to pump oxygen around your body.

What medical conditions can smoking cause?


When you smoke, less oxygen gets to your brain and damage to the blood vessels can lead to you having a stroke.


The chemicals in cigarette smoke poison your body. This causes small lumps called tumours or cancers to grow. They can grow anywhere in your body, but especially the places where the cigarette smoke reaches first – your mouth, throat and lungs.


Smokers are more likely to end up with type 2 diabetes than non-smokers

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Smoking is the single largest cause of COPD and chronic asthma may turn into into COPD in later life

Smoking and your oral health

Smokers are more likely to have

  • Smoker’s breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Altered senses of taste and smell
  • Premature ageing

Smokers are also more likely to develop

  • Mouth cancers
  • Abnormal spots or sores that may lead to cancers
  • Poor wound healing after oral surgery or tooth removals
  • Increased chance of gum disease than non-smokers
  • Increased chance of losing their teeth than non-smokers
  • Increased chance of getting infections than non-smokers

Some treatment options are not offered to smokers because they don’t heal as well. Implants are one of those treatments. The health of your mouth, gums and teeth, as well as your senses of taste and smell, will improve if you quit smoking.

NSW smoke-free laws

New South Wales (NSW) smoke-free laws mean you can’t smoke any lit tobacco or non-tobacco product (such as a water-pipe) in an indoor public place.

Outdoor smoking is banned where people queue or gather, such as:

  • entrances or exits to a public building,
  • bus and ferry stops or train stations,
  • spectator areas of sports grounds,
  • swimming pool complexes,
  • near children’s play equipment,
  • outdoor dining areas,
  • within four metres of the entrances to/exits from cafés, restaurants, clubs and hotels.


 Every year more Australians who quit smoking and there are less current smokers.

Below is a table of the health benefits experienced at different stages of the quitting process.

20 minutes

  • Your resting heart rate gets lower (a key indicator of your overall fitness level)

12 hours

  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops dramatically
  • Oxygen levels in your blood have improved

2-12 weeks

  • You now have a lower risk of heart attack
  • Your circulation is better
  • You find exercise much easier
  • Your lung function has improved

1-9 months

  • You cough less and are less breathless

1 year

  • Your coronary heart disease risk is half that of someone who still smokes

5 years

  • You have a much lower risk of mouth, throat and oesophagus cancer
  • You have a much lower risk of stroke

10 years

  • Your risk of lung cancer is less than half that of someone who still smokes
  • You have less risk of developing bladder, kidney and pancreatic cancer

15 years

  • Your risk of coronary heart disease and death is about the same as someone who has never smoked

Help to Quit

 When you decide to quit, it is important to have a proper quit plan. Doing it alone and cold turkey is hard and you are more likely to not be successful. Work out exactly what resources (such as nicotine replacement therapy), services and other forms of reliable help you can use and use them as much as possible, so you have the best chance of quitting smoking.


When quitting. the first person you should speak with is your GP. They can help you find the best method for quitting. This might be ‘going cold turkey’, or using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or a counselling service.

You need to see your GP if you want to use prescription medications or pay less for nicotine patches. Talk to your GP before quitting if you have other health conditions, such as diabetes or a mental illness and are taking other medications.

Prepare to quit

You have decided to quit and now it is time to plan. The more you prepare, the better the chance you will give up. Get as much information as you can.

  • Speak with people who have successfully quit and ask them how they did it. Different things work for different people, but you may get some great tips
  • Learn from your past quitting efforts. What worked best and what made it hard? What caused you to start smoking again and how could I avoid it this time? Write these down in a quitting plan.
  • Just stopping (or going ‘cold turkey’) is a popular way to stop smoking, but it doesn’t always work. If you smoke 15 cigarettes or more per day, using nicotine patches while cutting down over two weeks before stopping works better. If you decide to do this:
    • it’s important to have a clear plan, and a definite quit date
    • use a support person or service to help you stick to your goals
    • talk with your GP about using NRT while cutting down

Quit Methods

There are many methods you can use to Quit smoking. The best is to #talktoyourgp who may recommend a form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which includes patches, gum, inhalator, lozenge, mouth spray and oral strip.

There are also support services, such as telephone or face-to-face counselling. This can give you the motivation, structure, confidence, new skills and support you will need during the quitting period.


Quitline offers trained advisors for the cost of a local call from landlines or higher rates from mobiles (check with your carrier for details). Quitline advisors talk with you about your difficulties with quitting and give you reliable information and support. They can also call you at a certain time for more support.

Family and friends of smokers and others requesting information about smoking can also call.

Quitline operates Monday to Friday 7.00am-10.30pm, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 9.00am-5.00pm.  Call 13 7848 or 13 QUIT,

iCanQuit website lets you share your quit story and shows you how others are going. You can track your quit journey and see how much money you can save when you quit. There is lots of information about quit smoking methods, how to get started and how to stay quit

Group and individual counselling

Individual counselling usually involves weekly face-to-face meetings between a smoker and a counsellor trained in helping a smoker give up. They mostly take place over a period of at least four weeks after the quit date and are normally combined with some form of nicotine replacement therapy.
Contact Quitline on 13 7848 for individual counselling and information on the nearest group counselling service available to you.