Colac smoking above state average

More than 23 per cent of Colac Otway Shire men smoke and more than 22 per cent of the shire's women are smokers.

COLAC and district smokers are struggling to kick the habit, with Colac Otway Shire’s smoking rates higher than the state’s average.

The State Government has released its latest Population Health Survey, measuring the health of Victorians.

The study revealed 22.7 per cent of women in Colac Otway Shire are smokers, compared with a state average of 17 per cent.

The shire’s men include 23.3 per cent smokers, compared with a state average of 20.2.

Colac Otway’s smoking rates exceeded neighbouring shires’ figures, with 13.4 per cent of Surf Coast Shire’s men smoking and 13.9 per cent of women, while 15.4 per cent of Corangamite Shire’s men and 13.3 per cent of women smoked.

Colac Area Health chief executive officer Geoff Iles said smoking had a significant impact on the district’s health system.

“Firstly from a public health perspective, the impact of smoking is profound on individual health,” Mr Iles said.

“But it does also impact on the services delivered by Colac Area Health, as is the case for other public health providers,” he said.

“It’s also particularly disappointing to see a growth in smoking rates among younger females, and the associated impact it has on their lives as well as the potential impact on their children’s lives.

“Colac Area Health provides a smoking cessation service, and while we understand that nicotine addiction is not an easy addiction to overcome, research has shown that well-structured services like ours do make a difference in helping people end their addiction.”

The government released the health survey last week and based it on 2008 and 2009 figures.

It also found that the shire had more overweight women, 29.5 per cent, than the state average, 22.3 per cent, but the shire’s men were slightly under the state’s average, with 38.5 per cent compared with 39.7 per cent.

Only 2.7 per cent of men in the Colac Otway Shire had an intake of five or more vegetables each day, compared with 5.5 per cent in the Corangamite Shire and 4.4 per cent in the Surf Coast Shire.

The study reported 14.8 per cent of Colac Otway Shire women had an appropriate vegetable intake, higher than Surf Coast Shire, 14.1 per cent, but lower than Corangamite Shire, 16.1 per cent.

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