National data reveals almost 2 in 3 Australian smokers are parents, prompting a new WA campaign calling for parents to quit for the sake of their kids.
The advertisements feature four West Australian parents talking candidly and emotionally about how their children inspired them to quit.
Mother-of-two Levi Montgomery is one of the four people featured in the campaign and says she regrets the devastating impact her smoking habit of 16 years was having on her family.
"I don't want my daughters growing up thinking smoking is a normal thing. It's not a 'cool' habit.
"My oldest daughter was 4 when she started becoming aware of what I was doing. She would ask why I was smoking and I never really knew how to answer her.
"It scared me that they are so small and by smoking, I was shaving years of my life with them for no real reason," said Levi.
During her quitting journey, Levi watched a video message that her daughter recorded for her, pleading with her not smoke to keep her on track whenever she had cravings.
Levi will celebrate her one-year anniversary of quitting in March and hopes her involvement in the campaign will encourage other parents to kick the habit.
"I used to say nothing worked for me but having these small tiny humans to champion me on, having supportive friends and family, and taking one day at a time is what got me to where I am today.
"I feel like I now have more time and energy to spend with my kids. I don't really know how I ever had the time to go for a smoke now - I don't know how I afforded to smoke, either," said Levi.
Our Make Smoking History Manager, Kelly Kennington, said in addition to the obvious health benefits of quitting, parents play a vital role in preventing their children from smoking.
"Research shows a strong link between parental tobacco use and the uptake of smoking among children - a parent quitting can reduce the likelihood of smoking uptake in children.
"Unfortunately, 2 in 3 long-term smokers will die from their cigarette addiction - in WA alone around 5 people per day die from smoking-related illnesses - so this is a habit we don't want our kids taking up," said Ms Kennington.
The campaign will run from Sunday 25 February to Saturday 5 May 2018 and includes four 30-second TV advertisements that will appear on metropolitan, regional and Indigenous channels, complemented by advertising on regional and Indigenous radio stations, online, and on petrol stations screens across the state.
Ms Kennington said there are a number of free public resources, including our Make Smoking History website, that provides practical information and support to help smokers quit.
• 2 out of 3 long-term smokers will die from their cigarette addiction. i.e. of the 230 000 adults in WA who smoke, 153 000 will die due to their smoking;
• There are approximately 50 hospitalisations per day in WA due to tobacco smoking and
• In WA alone, 1,700 lives are taken by tobacco use every year i.e. 5 people per day.3
• Almost 2 in 3 current smokers in Australia are parents, of which 44 per cent are parents of dependent children and 30 per cent are sole parents.
• Research conducted with WA smokers showed quitting for family is one of the top three motivators for quitting alongside ‘health-related' and ‘financial' reasons.
Watch the ads, here.
If you want to talk to someone about quitting call the Quit line on 13 78 48.
For confidential cancer-related information and support call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Make Smoking History is an initiative of Cancer Council WA and proudly supported by the Department of Health WA and Healthway