One in three strokes 'caused by smoking'

Update:23 May 2007

One in three strokes in NSW is caused by smoking, despite more than two decades of anti-smoking campaigns, new figures show.

A NSW Cancer Institute report out on Sunday shows smoking may be a contributing factor in up to a third of all strokes in the state, but if smokers quit they can halve their risk of stroke.

The figures were released as a new public health campaign was launched highlighting the link between smoking and stroke.

National Stroke Foundation chief executive Dr Erin Lalor said the report's findings were alarming and there needed to be greater awareness of how people could reduce their risk of stroke.

"Too many people are having strokes that could be avoided," Dr Lalor said.

"One of the best ways to reduce your risk of stroke is to quit smoking."

Dr Lalor said stroke was the second leading cause of death in Australia and could also cause severe disability.

The advertising campaign highlights the impact strokes can have on the whole family.

About 11 Australians die every week from stroke caused by tobacco smoking.

The campaign says the community needs to act "FAST" when witnessing the signs of stroke.

FAST stands for Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to act.


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