Almost one in four residents in the Latrobe Valley are regular smokers, far higher than the Victorian average. The health impacts of smoking are seen not just in lung cancer, but also in the very high rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke across Gippsland.
Yet people who quit smoking by age 50 will halve the risk of smoking-related death.
The Victorian Government, in partnership with the Latrobe Health Assembly, the community, and a wide range of stakeholders, is committed to reducing the burden of tobacco use for the people of Latrobe. As a first step, a Smoking Cessation Dialogue was held in Traralgon on 2 December 2016. The aim of the event was to have a community conversation about tobacco and develop practical solutions tailored to the needs of the Latrobe Valley.
Guest speakers included Harriet Shing MP; Dr Sarah White, Director, Quit Victoria; Marianne Shearer, CEO, Gippsland Primary Health Network; and Kirstan Corben and Emma Dean, Smoking Cessation Specialists, Alfred Health. These speakers were also joined by representatives from mental health, alcohol and drugs, general practice, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).
The event helped to provide attendees with the confidence and knowledge to tackle smoking locally. It will be followed up with further efforts to embed smoking cessation into routine care system-wide. This means that when local people visit their GP, community health centre, mental health services, alcohol and other drug services, hospital or ACCHO they will be supported to quit.
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