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Medical Association Support Quit Smoking Campaign

The New Zealand Medical Association fully supports the National Quit Campaign to encourage people to quit smoking.

Smoking is a major public health issue and doctors continually see the health effects of smoking first-hand.

"Every time a person inhales cigarette smoke, they expose themselves to more than 4000 chemicals, including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia and arsenic," NZMA Chairman Dr Pippa MacKay says.

"The NZMA supports the use of hard-hitting advertisements which graphically show the effects of smoking on the body. It's important that smokers know the health risks associated with smoking."

Half of all smokers will die early as a result of smoking-related illness, such as heart disease, emphysema, pleurisy, lung and other cancers and gum disease.

Men who smoke may suffer impotence and may produce less sperm. Women smokers take longer to conceive and are more likely to have a miscarriage.
Babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to be premature, stillborn or die shortly after birth. Children with parents who smoke are more likely to get pneumonia and bronchitis in their first year of life, and develop asthma.

"Quitting smoking can reduce the risks for all smokers, even those who have smoked long-term," Dr MacKay says.

"It's a real challenge to quit smoking, because the nicotine in cigarettes is very addictive. But smokers are not on their own - the Quit Campaign provides advice and support."

The NZMA was encouraged to see that a pilot Quitline service, run in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty, had attracted 8500 calls and 15 percent of callers had quit smoking five months later.


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