Smokers remain blissfully unaware of the numerous health risks associated with smoking, a study has revealed.
A new survey by Cancer Council Victoria shows disturbing gaps in smokers' awareness of 23 cigarette-related health conditions.
Lead researcher Melanie Wakefield says the Cancer Council was especially shocked to discover that at least half of smokers did not know about the causal links of cigarettes with 13 health conditions, ranging from various cancers to infertility in women, erectile dysfunction, blindness, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis.
"Tobacco use damages nearly every organ of the body but as this study shows, many Australian smokers are not aware of the wide range of serious health problems they could face if they continue to smoke," Prof Wakefield said.
She said gory cigarette packaging and graphic TV advertising had made eight in 10 smokers aware of lung and throat cancers, emphysema and heart disease.
But the lack of knowledge of other health dangers meant warnings needed to be updated, she said.
The Australian government is currently reviewing the 14 graphic health warnings on cigarette packs that have been used since 2012.
The study surveyed almost 2000 Australians, including current and former smokers and those who had never smoked, aged 18 to 69.
Awareness of health dangers was highest among those who never smoked.
13 HEALTH CONDITIONS LINKED TO SMOKING:
- stomach cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- liver cancer
- infertility in women
- kidney cancer
- peptic ulcer (open sore in the lining of the stomach)
- erectile dysfunction
- bladder cancer
- ectopic pregnancy (when an embryo attaches outside the womb and cannot survive)
- rheumatoid arthritis.
Australian Associated Press