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Addiction facts not getting through

Will plain packaging make more people quit smoking?

DESPITE numerous education campaigns and health warnings, new research reveals 67% of Australians believe the treatment of addiction is not taken seriously enough in Australia.

Yet some still believe there is a safe level of cigarette smoking and illicit drug use - 17% and 13%, respectively.

The research, commissioned by Pfizer Australia, shows the majority of Australians (78%) believe addiction to nicotine, alcohol or illicit drugs should be considered treatable medical conditions.

Of the smokers surveyed, 22% believe nicotine addiction is a habit only, with 72% of them saying they would change their approach to quitting if they knew nicotine addiction was a recognised medical condition.

Dr Raymond Seidler, a leading addiction specialist and general practitioner, said: "It's alarming that people do not recognise the gravity of substance abuse in Australia.

"They still think, despite all of the health warnings, that even small amounts of addictive substances are harmless, particularly nicotine in cigarettes.

"There is simply no safe level of use."

The Department of Health and Ageing reports the number of deaths caused by tobacco each year to be about 15,000 compared with 1150 alcohol and 872 illicit drug-related deaths.


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