Smokers in denial about health dangers

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Melbourne, Dec 30 (UNI) Most smokers are in denial about the dangers of their habit, new research released by anti-tobacco campaigners has found.

The Cancer Council Victoria found more than six out of 10 smokers agreed with at least one incorrect statement that downplayed the health risk of smoking.

They thought exercise could undo most of the effects of smoking, that most lung cancer was caused by other factors such as air pollution and petrol fumes, or that genetics was the major cause of lung cancer. In fact, smoking was responsible for about 80 per cent of all lung cancer cases, the council said.

The research also showed almost one in five smokers believed that smoking couldn't be that bad for you because many smokers lived to a ripe old age, said Fiona Sharkie, the executive director of the council's prevention programme Quit.

Ms Sharkie said the findings were a concern given that one in two lifetime smokers would die from their habit, half in middle age.

''Cigarettes are an extremely addictive product and given this, some smokers find it easier to develop an 'It will never happen to me' attitude or believe certain myths, rather than kick the habit,'' The Bulletin quoted her as saying.

''This research suggests that some smokers are still in denial about the dangers of smoking, or are pushing the uncomfortable truths to the back of their mind where it's unlikely to change their smoking,'' she added.

Ms Sharkie said the research highlighted the importance of public information campaigns that showed the potentially devastating consequences of tobacco use.


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