Australia

Smoking cardiovascular death toll 17 daily

More than 6400 Australians die every year from cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking. (AAP)

Australia's 2.7 million smokers triple their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease which kills 6400 of them every year, according to an in-depth study.

More than 6400 Australians are dying each year from cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking, according to a new study touted as the most in-depth of its kind in the world.

Researchers from the Australian National University have tracked 190,000 smokers and non-smokers for seven years, checking how they measure up for the 36 known cardiovascular diseases.

People who smoke triple their risk of dying from cardiovascular conditions, the study found.

Australia's 2.7 million smokers are also twice as likely to have a stroke, heart attack or heart failure and five times more likely to develop peripheral cardiovascular diseases such as gangrene.

Ultimately, 11,400 people are admitted to hospital each year, with a coronary heart condition caused by smoking, or 31 people every day.

Lead researcher Emily Banks says the results show the harm wrought by smoking doesn't discriminate by people's gender, where they live, or their socio-economic status.

"We found there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Smoking causes terrible harm across the board," Professor Banks said.

Limiting the number of cigarettes smoked daily doesn't help much, according to the research.

People who smoke an average five cigarettes a day are still twice as likely to be killed by cardiovascular disease.

There is some good news for people who quit, with those who stop smoking by 45 able to avoid about 90 per cent of smoking's cardiovascular risks.

But Heart Foundation chief executive John Kelly said the number of cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking was disturbing.

"It demonstrates that our battle to eliminate the devastation tobacco brings to people's lives is far from over," he said.

Mr Kelly said he hoped smoking would be dealt with strongly in the illness prevention strategy Health Minister Greg Hunt had promised.

"We urge the government to maintain tobacco control as a high priority."

The participants of the research were part of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up study, a large-scale and long-term health project.

The new data was published on Thursday in the international journal BMC Medicine.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch