Daily smokers drinking less and doing fewer drugs: Study
MACKAY is among the worst regions for smoking but the good news is we're using fewer illegal drugs and not binge drinking quite as often as we once did.
The mixed report card into the region's health had Mackay classed under North Queensland which also incorporated Cairns and Townsville.
New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found 17.4 per cent of North Queenslanders smoke every day, bucking the national trend which had a sharp decline between 2016 to 2019.
The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 found across Australia, daily smoking rates dropped from 17.4 per cent to 11 per cent in three years - or by just 0.3 per cent in North Queensland.
That particular trend is reflective of changing attitudes in bigger cities and regional areas where daily smoking rates drop more substantially than places such as Mackay.
"It isn't a secret that smoking is the number one cause of preventable illness and death and we still have close to one in five North Queenslanders smoking every day," Alcohol and Other Drugs program manager Sandra Kennedy said.
"The big thing for North Queenslanders to realise is that there are really good programs that people can access if they want to quit smoking."
Cancer Council Queensland this week launched its risk calculator to help people identify their behaviours and advise on changes needed to ward off the disease.
Geared towards the younger market, the calculator was rolled out across TikTok, Facebook and Instagram in a bid to address the 12 per cent of young people aged 18 to 29 who smoked daily.
The statistics were identified in the Chief Health Officer Report, and CCQ CEO Chris McMillan said the calculator would help address those target markets.
"We hope the calculator will raise awareness and give Queenslanders a push to become leaders in reducing their cancer risk," she said.
"Modifiable lifestyle risk factors are habits such as diet, alcohol consumption, weight, physical activity, smoke and ultraviolet exposure from the sun."
The National Drug Strategy Household Survey also found fewer North Queenslanders were drinking "in excess of lifetime risk alcohol guidelines", from 23 per cent in 2016 to 17.9 per cent in 2019.
Illicit drug use had also dropped in the preceding 12 months to 17.7 per cent in 2016.
"The data is encouraging but there is still work to do," Ms Kennedy said.
She said all Queenslanders had access to Quitline, nicotine replacement therapy and other intensive support for hospital inpatients to kick the smoking habit.
More than 22,274 people were interviewed across Australia for the survey which ran from April to September 2019.