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Twenty odd deaths not enough for some

16/12/2010

Yesterday, a tragedy occurred. A boat carrying 70 asylum seekers struck trouble and the boat struck rocks killing 28. The response to this by obvious racists was to have a party. Many said it was a tragedy that 44 were saved. God bless Australia right?

The number of asylum seekers is not really the issue is it? It’s the fact they are of middle eastern appearance that really pisses people off. Yet the Liberals wont stand up and claim their racism wholly and solely. Instead it raises the numbers.

Lets take about numbers shall we?

12,ooo asylum seekers every year seems to be 12,000 to many. But that is all the numbers we are talking about here. Further, of those 12,000 only 6,000 are those who travel here by boats. Thats just the number by the way. Evil huh? But what we have here is a national focus on this insignificant number to the point where it is totally disproportional. For a number of people that annually make up .054 percent of our population, they sure get a lot of media time and political time.

Statistically, it is insignificant, yet it gets significant time. Here are some really significant statistics that barely get mentioned at all. All stats from http://www.abs.gov.au

(a) The gap between white Australians and Indigenous Australians. Are you aware that there is a 20 year gap between whites and black here?

MEDIAN AGE AT DEATH

Care should be exercised when analysing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian median age at death, as in addition to the issues previously identified, it may also be affected by differences in identification by age. For example, higher levels of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian infant deaths compared with older age groups may result in the median age at death being underestimated.

As with age-specific death rates, median age at death data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are only included in this publication for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are excluded due to small numbers of registered deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

In 2009, the median age at death of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian males varied across the states and territories, from 48 years in South Australia to 57 years in New South Wales, compared with 67 years in the Northern Territory to 79 years in South Australia for non-Indigenous males. Similarly, the median age at death of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian females was lower than for non-Indigenous females, 53 years in South Australia to 66 years in New South Wales compared with 72 years in Northern Territory to 85 years in South Australia.

3.6 Median age at death, Indigenous status(a) – 2004 to 2009

NSW
Qld
SA
WA
NT
Total(b)

Males


Indigenous
2004
55.8
53.7
49.5
50.0
43.8
51.2
2005
54.3
51.1
42.4
52.8
45.8
50.4
2006
59.3
55.6
50.4
47.9
45.4
52.4
2007
58.1
54.7
50.5
53.3
45.9
53.1
2008
59.9
53.2
49.0
51.2
52.1
53.8
2009
57.2
53.2
48.0
50.6
48.3
52.5
Non-Indigenous
2004
77.0
76.2
77.6
76.3
63.0
76.8
2005
77.2
76.4
77.9
76.6
63.7
76.9
2006
77.8
76.7
78.3
76.9
64.7
77.4
2007
78.1
77.1
78.7
76.9
64.6
77.7
2008
78.5
77.3
79.2
77.1
66.3
78.0
2009
78.4
77.2
79.3
77.3
66.6
78.0

Females


Indigenous
2004
62.7
57.9
53.5
63.6
54.0
60.1
2005
65.8
59.5
47.5
57.8
50.4
57.9
2006
64.8
57.0
59.3
57.0
55.3
59.0
2007
63.0
59.5
58.3
59.3
55.7
59.5
2008
63.8
62.3
53.5
64.0
56.0
60.5
2009
65.9
62.6
53.0
58.7
55.4
61.3
Non-Indigenous
2004
82.8
82.5
83.3
82.3
71.3
82.7
2005
83.1
82.6
83.7
83.2
70.5
83.1
2006
83.5
83.1
84.1
83.1
75.0
83.4
2007
83.7
83.3
84.3
83.4
69.3
83.6
2008
84.2
83.7
84.6
84.1
75.7
84.1
2009
84.1
83.4
84.6
83.6
71.8
83.9

Shame on us really. Someone somewhere put this in the too hard basket or the don’t give a shit as its only abo’s basket.

(b) Alcohol. Man this is HUGE. It affects are not only for the length of the hangover. Health, finances, life risks etc continue for a life time. Alcohol also is related to much mental health issues. From birth to death, alcohol companies make a motza.

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Alcohol, though widely used and enjoyed in Australian society, is a depressant drug. In low quantities it causes people to become less inhibited, in higher doses it can cause unconsciousness and even death. It is thought that low to moderate alcohol consumption may offer some protective health effects. However, high alcohol consumption increases the risk of heart, stroke and vascular diseases, liver cirrhosis and some cancers. It also contributes to disability and death through accidents, violence, suicide and homicide (WHO 2004).

The term ‘alcohol’ refers to ethyl alcohol (ethanol) which is found in drinks intended for human consumption. The quantities of consumed alcoholic drinks given by respondents in the 2004-05 NHS were converted to quantities of pure alcohol from which the risk level was determined according to NHMRC guidelines.

Alcohol dependence and harmful use was ranked 17th in the 20 leading causes of burden of disease and injury for Australia in 2003, and harm from alcohol was estimated to be the cause of 5.5% of the burden of disease for males and 2.2% for females (AIHW 2006a).

PATTERNS OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

  • While the majority of adults reported drinking alcohol in the week before the NHS interview (62%), about one in every eight adults drank at a risky/high risk level (footnote 2). This represents 13% of all adults, or approximately 2.0 million persons in 2004-05.
  • 78% of those who drank alcohol in the week before the survey, did so at a low health risk level.
  • The proportion of people drinking at a risky/high risk level has increased over the past three National Health Surveys, from 8.2% in 1995 to 10.8% in 2001 and 13.4% in 2004-05 (after adjusting for age differences) (footnote 3).
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption
Graph: Risky/High Risk Alcohol Consumption

AGE AND SEX

  • In 2004-05, 15% of adult males and 12% of adult females reported drinking at a risky/high risk level, while 55% of males and 43% of females reported drinking at a low risk level.
  • The increase in those drinking at a risky/high risk level since 1995 has been greater for women than men. From the three surveys since 1995, the proportion of females who drank at a risky/high risk level increased from 6.2% to 11.7%, while for males the increase was from 10.3% to 15.2%, after adjusting for age differences.
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption
Graph: Risky/High Risk Alcohol Consumption
  • The proportions of males and females drinking at risky and high risk levels were highest in the middle age groups and this proportion has increased over time.
  • In 2004-05, 18% of males aged 45-54 years were risky/high risk level drinkers. This compares to 15% in 2001 and 12% in 1995.
  • In 2004-05, 13% of females aged 45-54 years were risky/high risk level drinkers. This compares to 10% in 2001 and 6.7% in 1995.
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption by age
Graph: Risky/High Risk Alcohol Consumption by Age

SHORT TERM RISK (BINGE DRINKING)

  • Drinking at or above risky/high risk levels in the short term, i.e. on any single occasion, is sometimes referred to as ‘binge’ drinking (footnote 4).
  • Binge drinking can lead to an increased incidence of falls, other accidents (including motor vehicle accidents) and violence (NHMRC 2001).
  • Short term risky/high risk consumption equates to seven or more standard drinks for males and five or more standard drinks for females on any single occasion (NHMRC 2001).
  • Data from the 2004-05 NHS show that among people aged 18 years and over, 48% of males and 30% of females consumed alcohol at risky/high risk levels in the short term on at least one occasion in the last 12 months.
  • These figures are comparable with data from the NDSHS which show that in 2004, among people aged 14 years and over, 40% of males and 31% of females consumed alcohol at risky/high risk levels in the short term. (AIHW 2005a).
  • According to the 2004-05 NHS, among people aged 18 years and over, 12% of males and 4% of females had consumed alcohol at risky/high risk levels in the short term at least once a week over the previous 12 months.
  • Of these, young people aged 18-24 years were most likely to drink at this risk level. About one in five males (19%) and one in ten females (11%) in this age group had consumed alcohol at risky/high risk levels in the short term at least once a week in the 12 months prior to interview .

UNDER-AGE DRINKING

  • Children have a greater vulnerability to alcohol than adults; as well as being physically smaller, they lack experience of drinking and its effects (NHMRC 2001).
  • Young people when intoxicated are more likely to indulge in risky behaviour such as swimming, driving, unsafe or unwanted sex, verbal or physical abuse (DrugInfo clearinghouse 2002).
  • In 2004, 25% of those aged 14-19 years drank alcohol on a daily or weekly basis in the last 12 months compared to 50% of all persons 14 years and over (AIHW 2005a).
  • Among teenagers aged 14-19 years drinking at risky/high risk levels in the long term, 77% of boys usually consumed regular strength beer, while 85% of girls usually consumed bottled spirits and liqueurs (AIHW 2005a).

INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

  • In 2004-05, around half of all Indigenous adults (49%) reported having consumed alcohol in the week prior to the interview, of whom one-third (16%) reported drinking at risky/high risk levels in the long term (ABS 2006d).
  • After adjusting for age-differences, the proportion of Indigenous adults who reported drinking at risky/high risk levels was similar to that for non-Indigenous adults (ABS 2006d).
  • A higher proportion of Indigenous men than women had consumed alcohol at risky/high risk levels in the week prior to the survey, except those aged 55 years and over where the rate was similar for males and females (ABS 2006d).
  • Indigenous women had the highest rate of risky/high risk alcohol consumption in the 25-34 years age groups while for Indigenous men this occurred in the 35-44 years age group. By comparison, the highest rates of risky/high risk consumption occurred for non-Indigenous women in the 35-44 years age group and for non-Indigenous men in the 45-54 years age group.
  • Among Indigenous young people aged 18-24 years, 20% of males and 14% of females consumed alcohol at risky/high risk levels (ABS 2006d).
  • There was no statistically significant difference between remote (15%) and non-remote (17%) risky/high risk alcohol consumption for Indigenous Australians (ABS 2006d).
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption 2004-05, males
Graph: Risky/High Risk Alcohol Consumption 2004-05, Males
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption 2004-05, females
Graph: Risky/High Risk Alcohol Consumption 2004-05, Females

DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS

  • In 2004-05, 13% of people aged 18 years and over in major cities of Australia had risky/high risk levels of alcohol consumption, compared to 15% in inner regional Australia and 16% in outer regional Australia/other areas.
  • 15% of Australian born people reported consuming alcohol at risky/high risk levels in the long term. This is similar to the proportion for those born in the United Kingdom and higher than for all other birthplaces.
  • People born in North Africa and the Middle East had the lowest proportion of adults consuming alcohol at risky/high risk levels (2.2%), followed by those born in South-East Asia (4.4%) and Southern and Eastern Europe (6.0%).
  • 11% of respondents in the most disadvantaged areas (1st quintile of the SEIFA Disadvantage Index) were classified as drinking alcohol at risky/high risk levels, compared to 16% in the least disadvantaged areas (5th quintile) (footnote 5).

RISK FACTORS

  • Some lifestyle related health risk factors can be associated with risky/high risk level of drinking. The effects of alcohol are often worsened by other risk factors, such as smoking and dietary factors (NHMRC 2001).
  • Of those who were risky/high risk drinkers in the long term, 40% of males and 35% of females were current smokers, compared to 24% males and 20% females who drank at a low risk level.
  • In 2004-05, 64% of males and 51% of females who were risky/high risk drinkers reported eating one or less serves of fruit daily (less than the recommended daily intake); whereas 51% of males and 40% of females who drank at a low risk level ate one or less serves of fruit daily.

HEALTH STATUS

  • Drinking heavily over a long period of time can cause harm to a person’s brain and liver functioning and contribute to depression, relationship difficulties and hence quality of life. It can also increase the risk of developing cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, cognitive problems, dementia and alcohol dependence (NHMRC 2001).
  • High risk consumption of alcohol is strongly associated with oral, throat and oesophageal cancer (AIHW 2005a).
  • Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer among females (Ridolfo and Stevenson, 1998).
  • In 2004-05, 16% of males with risky/high risk levels of alcohol consumption reported having hypertension, compared with 13% males with low alcohol consumption levels (after adjusting for age differences).
  • Of those who drank at risky/high risk levels, more people reported high/very high psychological distress compared with those who drank at low risk levels. Those most affected were in the age group 18-24 years, women more so than men (footnote 6).

High/very high psychological distress, by alcohol consumption risk level


Low Risk


Risky/High Risk


%
%
Males 18-24 years
10
13
Females 18-24 years 

Persons 18-24 years
Persons 25 years or more

All persons 18 years or more

17

13
10

10

31

21
12

13


Source: National Health Survey 2004-05

TYPE OF DRINK

  • Of those who drank at risky/high risk levels (based on their consumption in the week prior to interview), overall and for men the preferred beverage was beer, while women preferred wine/sparkling wine.
  • 61% of risky/high risk drinkers consumed beer, compared to 45% of those who drank at a low risk level.
  • Of risky/high risk drinkers, 84% of males and 32% of females drank beer, compared to 68% of male and 16% female low risk level drinkers.
  • According to the 2004-05 NHS, 78% of female and 40% male risky/high risk drinkers consumed wine/sparkling wine, compared to 62% of female and 35% male low risk drinkers.
  • Of risky/high risk drinkers aged 18-24 years, 75% drank ready to drink spirits and liqueurs compared to 56% of low risk drinkers of the same age.

INJURY UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL

  • Of those aged 18-24 years, 25% (27% of males and 23% of females) experienced an event which resulted in injury in the four weeks prior to the NHS interview. This is higher than for all persons 18 years and over, of whom 18% reported a recent injury event (19% of males and 18% of females).
  • Of those aged 18-24 years, 1.7% of males and 1.5% of females reported having a recent injury while under the influence of alcohol or other substance.
  • 5.1% of males and 7.6% of females aged 18-24 years reported a recent injury while under the influence of alcohol or other substance at the time of injury, compared to 1.7% of males and 1.2% of females of the same age, but who drank at a low risk level.
  • Of all adults who drank at a risky/high risk level, 1.5% of males and 2.4% of females aged 18 years and over reported a recent injury while under the influence of alcohol or other substance at the time of injury, compared to 0.5% of males and 0.3% of females aged 18 years and over who drank at a low risk level.

APPARENT CONSUMPTION PER PERSON

  • The apparent annual per person consumption by those aged 15 years and over in Australia in 2004-05, was 4.6 Litres of alcohol (Lal) beer, 3.1 Lal wine and 2.1 Lal spirits, totalling 9.8 Lal per person (ABS 2006a).
  • Of 2.1 Lal spirits apparently consumed per person aged 15 years and over, 0.9 Lal (44%) was in the form of ‘Ready To Drink’ beverages (ABS 2006a).

MORTALITY

  • Alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia (after tobacco) (AIHW, 2005a).
  • Alcohol is the main cause of deaths on Australian roads. In 1998, over 2,000 deaths of the total 7,000 deaths of persons under 65 years, were related to alcohol (Ridolfo and Stevenson, 1998).
  • In 2004, the age standardised rate for male deaths due to alcoholic liver disease as the underlying cause was 5.5 per 100,000, compared with 1.5 per 100,000 for females (ABS 2006b).
  • In 2004, the age standardised rate for male deaths with mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol as the underlying cause was 1.9 per 100,000, compared with 0.4 per 100,000 for females (ABS 2006b).

HEALTH SYSTEM COSTS

  • In the seven years from 1998-99 to 2004-05, the overall number of hospital separations with principal diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol increased from 23,490 to 35,152; the number per 1,000 population increased by 39% for all ages during that time period (by 41% for those under 20 years) (AIHW 2006).
  • According to a study by Ridolfo and Stevenson (2001), the largest number of alcohol-related hospital separations among both men and women in 1998 was due to alcoholism and alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The second-largest number was due to road injuries for men and cancer for women.
  • It has been estimated that 31,132 Australians died from alcohol-caused disease and injury between 1992 and 2001; of these 75% were male and 25% female. From 1993-94 to 2000-01, there were over half a million hospitalisations due to risky and high-risk drinking in Australia (Chikritzhs et.al. 2003).
  • At the community level, the estimated economic cost of alcohol misuse to the Australian community in 1998-99 totalled $7.6 billion, and this estimate includes associated factors such as crime and violence, treatment costs, loss of productivity and premature death (Collins and Lapsley, 2002).


(c) Tobacco. The other big killer.

TOBACCO SMOKING

  • Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia (Cancer Council 2006).
  • Smoking is a key risk factor for the three diseases that cause most deaths in Australia: ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and lung cancer. Smokers are also at increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and reduced lung function (DoHA 2006).
  • Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for both mother and child. (DoHA 2006).
  • Smoking is responsible for around 80% of all lung cancer deaths and 20% of all cancer deaths (smoking has been linked to cancers of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach and cervix, among others) (DoHA 2006).
  • The 2003 Australian Burden of Disease Study indicates that tobacco smoking was second behind overweight among the leading causes of burden of disease in Australia. It was estimated that tobacco smoking was responsible for about 8% of the total burden of disease and injury for all Australians (9.5% of total for males and 6.1% of total for females) (AIHW 2006: Begg et al in press).

SMOKING PATTERNS

  • In 2004-05, 23% of adults were current smokers, about 3.5 million persons (footnote 1).
  • 21% of adults reported being regular daily smokers (representing 92% of smokers), while 2% reported smoking less frequently than daily.
  • 30% of adults reported being ex-smokers and 47% reported never smoking regularly (footnote 2).
  • Rates of current smoking have decreased slightly for both men and women in recent years, based on age-adjusted estimates from the last three National Health Surveys (1995, 2001 and 2004-05) (footnote 3). Over the period 1995 to 2004-5 the estimated proportion of men who were current smokers changed from 28% to 26% , and the corresponding change for women was 22% to 20%, after adjusting for age differences (footnote 4).
Prevalence of current smoking (a)(b), 18 years and over
Graph: Prevalence of current smoking, 18 years and over

AGE AND SEX

  • In 2004-05, 26% of men and 20% of women were current smokers.
  • For both men and women, smoking rates are highest in younger age groups and decline with increasing age.
  • The highest rates of smoking for men were reported in the 18-24 years age group (34%) and for women in the 25-34 years age group (27%).
Prevalence of current smoking(a), 2004-05
Graph: Prevalence of current smoking, 2004-05
  • There were decreases in age-specific rates for current smoking in many adult age groups over the period 1995 to 2004-05. In particular, decreases are evident in older age groups (65 years and over) for both men and women, and also in some younger age groups (particularly in the 18-34 year age group for women and the 25-34 year age group for men).

UNDER AGE SMOKING

  • People who start smoking when they are young are more likely to smoke heavily, to become more dependent on nicotine and to be at increased risk of smoking-related illness or death (McDermott, Russell and Dobson 2002) .
  • According to the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, males had their first cigarette at age 15.2 years on average and females at 16.5 years (of Australians aged 14 years and older who had ever smoked) (AIHW 2005).
  • 12.7% of males aged 14 to 19 years were current smokers, compared to 14.2% of females (AIHW 2005).

PASSIVE SMOKING

  • The breathing in of tobacco smoke by non-smokers can lead to harmful health effects in the unborn child, and middle ear infections and bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and other chest conditions in children. It is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In adults, passive smoking can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other chronic lung diseases (Queensland Health 2006).
  • More than a third (37%) of children aged 0-14 years live in households with one or more regular smokers, while 10% of children 0-14 years live in households where there is at least one regular smoker who smokes indoors.

MORTALITY

Estimating the number of deaths due to tobacco smoking is difficult due to the fact that it is a risk behaviour for a wide range of diseases. The most recent estimates of deaths caused by tobacco were published by Ridolfo and Stevenson (2001). According to the study;

  • 15% of all deaths (approximately 19,000 deaths) were due to tobacco smoking in 1998.
  • Of these, approximately 13,000 were male deaths and 6,000 were female deaths.
  • Most of these deaths (around 14,800) occurred at older ages, but a substantial number (around 4,200) occurred at ages under 65 years.
  • Cancer was responsible for 40% of these tobacco-related deaths, the majority of which were lung cancer.
  • Ischaemic heart disease (also known as coronary heart disease), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other causes (including stroke) were responsible for the remaining 60% of tobacco-related deaths.

A study which followed a cohort of male British doctors over 50 years has shown that cessation of smoking at any age will increase life expectancy. Specifically, cessation at age 60, 50, 40 or 30 years, gained about 3, 6, 9 or 10 years of life expectancy, respectively (Doll, Peto, Boreham and Sutherland 2004).

INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

  • In 2004-05, half of adult Indigenous Australians (50%), were current daily smokers.
  • 51% of Indigenous men and 49% of Indigenous women reported being current daily smokers.
  • Smoking was more prevalent among Indigenous than non-Indigenous adults in every age group. After adjusting for age differences, Indigenous adults were still more than twice as likely to be current daily smokers.
  • Smoking was associated with poorer health outcomes among Indigenous Australians in 2004-05. Current daily smokers were more likely than non-smokers to report being in fair or poor health (56% compared with 43%) and were less likely to report being in excellent or very good health (44% compared with 54%).
Daily smokers (a), 18 years and over, 2004-05
Graph: Daily smokers, 18 years and over, 2004-05

RISK FACTORS

  • Results from the 2004-05 NHS indicate that smoking tends to be reported alongside other lifestyle risk factors. Adult smokers had generally higher levels of risky/high risk alcohol consumption, lower daily fruit and vegetable intake and lower levels of exercise, than ex-smokers and those who reported never smoking.
  • An estimated 21% of current smokers reported drinking at risky or high risk levels, compared with 16% of ex-smokers and only 8% of those who reported never smoking, after adjusting for age differences.
  • Current smokers were also more likely to report fruit and vegetable intake which was under recommended levels. Approximately 63% of current smokers reported consuming less than two serves of fruit per day (the recommended daily intake), compared with 39% of those who had never smoked. Similarly 26% of current smokers reported consuming less than two serves of vegetables per day, compared with around 18% of those who had never smoked, after adjusting for age differences.
  • Adults who smoked also tended to report lower levels of exercise. Around 77% of current smokers reported either no exercise or a low level of exercise, compared with 67% of ex-smokers and 69% of those who reported never smoking, after adjusting for age differences.

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS

  • Socioeconomic status is known to be strongly associated with many health conditions and health risk factors, and this is particularly true of tobacco smoking. The rate of smoking is much higher in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage.
  • After adjusting for age differences, 33% of men and 28% of women in the most disadvantaged areas reported being daily smokers, compared to 16% of men and 11% of women in the most advantaged areas, as measured as being in the first or fifth quintiles of the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage respectively (footnote 5).
Prevalence of daily smoking (a) by Index of Disadvantage, 2004-05
Graph: Prevalence of daily smoking by Index of Disadvantage,  2004-05

GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS

  • After adjusting for age differences, 33% of adults in Remote Australia reported being current smokers in comparison to 22% in Major Cities, 26% in Inner Regional and 28% in Outer Regional Australia (footnote 6).

COUNTRY OF BIRTH

  • Those born in Oceania and Antarctica (mainly Australia and New Zealand), Southern and Eastern Europe, and North West Europe were the most likely to report current smoking (24%, 23% and 22% respectively), after adjusting for age differences.
  • Those born in Southern and Central Asia, South-East Asia, and North-East Asia had the lowest proportions of current smokers (12%,15% and 16% respectively).

HEALTH STATUS

  • Overall, only 45% of current smokers reported very good or excellent health, compared to 57% of ex-smokers and 60% of those who reported never smoking, after adjusting for age differences. As well at any age, the proportion of current smokers who rated their health as fair or poor was substantially higher for each age group than that for those who never smoked .
  • Smokers also reported higher levels of psychological distress. About 20% of current smokers reported high or very high levels of psychological distress, compared to only 10% of those who had never smoked, after adjusting for age differences.
  • Smokers had higher levels of respiratory disease than those who had never smoked. For example, 4% of current smokers reported bronchitis and 11% reported asthma, after adjusting for age differences. Corresponding proportions for those who never smoked were lower at 2% and 9% respectively.

HEALTH SYSTEM COSTS

  • In 1997-98 an estimated 97,000 hospital separations for males, and 45,000 for females were attributable to tobacco (Ridolfo and Stevenson 2001).
  • For males, 29% of hospital separations attributable to tobacco were due to ischaemic heart disease, 21% due to cancer and 19% due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. ‘Other direct smoking’ causes which include atherosclerosis and stroke, accounted for 30% (Ridolfo and Stevenson 2001).
  • For females, 22% of hospital separations attributable to tobacco were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 19% due to ischaemic heart disease, and 14% due to cancer. 43% were due to ‘other direct smoking’ causes (Ridolfo and Stevenson 2001).
  • Of the total health care costs resulting from all forms of drug abuse in 1998-99, approximately 80% were attributable to tobacco. In that year costs attributable to tobacco were $1094.4 million net, including medical, hospital, nursing home and pharmaceutical costs (Collins and Lapsley 2002).
  • Savings associated with avoided deaths and related declines in illness and disability due to reduced tobacco use in Australia over the last 30 years are estimated to be approximately $8.6 billion (Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy 2004).

It is quite clear that the 6,000 boat refugee numbers is minutiae when compared to the lives lost die to smoking and alcohol and the indecency of allowing the indigenous peoples to trail behind the rest of Australia.

Maybe what the boat people need is a good TV commercial. Maybe we call pull out Paul Hogan, take him to the pub, give him a beer and a smoke and have him say something like:

‘All these refos make me want to smoke and drink more’.

Hopefully this will increase the number of deaths annually to smoking and drinking and take the heat off the boat people. Further, the more of us who die means there is more room for more boat people.

Drink up everyone! Anyone got any smokes? Hey! I know where this abo lives in the park! Lets go make fun of him!

A. Ghebranious     2010          All Rights Reserved

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4 Comments
  1. Gryff permalink

    Excellent points Ash. I fear you’re preaching to the choir though. As you say numbers and facts aren’t playing the role they should when logically discussing issues in Australia at the moment.

  2. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Good to know unfortuntly seems to be the same elsewhere.

  3. Bettina Borson permalink

    Hi I found your site by mistake when i was searching Google for this issue, I have to say your site is really helpful I also love the theme, its amazing!. I dont have that much time to read all your post at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.

  4. Very excellent post, Ash. Indigenous issues are close to my heart, but sadly, nowhere near the MSM’s. I’m afraid that the old mantra will continue as always, that Aboriginal bashing is good right-wing politics.

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