New research shows two out of every three Australian smokers will die of tobacco-related illness and disease, writes Katie Clift of the Queensland Cancer Council.

It’s a shocking statistic and one we can’t ignore, with 500,000 smokers in Queensland today.

There are no legal substances as lethal as tobacco that are so readily available for our consumption. And the more you smoke, the greater your risk of dying from cigarettes becomes.

Current smokers are expected to die an average of 10 years earlier that non-smokers.

Death rates nearly double for Australians who smoke around 10 cigarettes a day, and are four to five times higher among smokers who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day, compared to non-smokers.

Smoking is also a drain on tax payers, costing the Queensland economy more than $6 billion each year, causing more than 3,700 deaths and resulting in over 36,000 hospitalisations.

The toll on human life is even more tragic; smoking-related illness and disease is responsible for one in five male deaths and one in 10 female deaths in Queensland each year, and 46 per cent of these are people younger than 75 years of age.

Worse still, one in 10 people who die from smoking-related diseases have never smoked themselves.

We know that most smokers want to quit the habit – although many need a nudge to take the first step.

Cancer Council Queensland has asked the Queensland Government to urgently introduce smoke-free public places – an initiative that has the power to prompt existing smokers to quit, to de-normalise the habit of smoking in our community, and to protect Queenslanders from the very real dangers of second-hand smoke.

Specifically, we have asked for State laws to make bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, pedestrian malls, and education campuses in Queensland smoke free.

We know the majority of Queenslanders support smoke-free spaces and want protection from the lethal effects of smoking.

Smoke-free spaces will not only reduce community exposure to harmful, toxic tobacco smoke, it will stop our next generation from taking up the lethal habit.

Support our call for smoke-free spaces, and help save two in three smokers from dying of tobacco-related disease.

If you’re a smoker, or know someone who is, call Quitline to get free support, resources and advice to quit – 13 QUIT or 13 7848.