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FASD Day - 9 September 2017


Stay Strong and Healthy

​9 September is FASD day – a good time to remind pregnant women and all the community that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). A child born with FASD may have a range of problems including physical defects and a life-long challenge with learning, behaviour, memory, language, communication and everyday living.

The disabilities associated with FASD are permanent and preventable.

Go to for Women Want to Know brochures, videos and e-learning courses which encourage health professionals to routinely discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women and to provide advice that is consistent with the NHMRC Guidelines.

For Aboriginal Stay Strong and Healthy FASD videos and resources for community and health professionals go to and

  1. Australia's largest preventable health threat

    This World No Tobacco Day 31 May, WHO asks smokers worldwide to ‘Choose Health. Not Tobacco’.      Tobacco smoking is the lead cause of preventable death in Australia. The last National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) showed that tobacco smoking contributes to more hospitalisations and deaths than alcohol and illicit drug use combined. Although daily smoking nearly halved from the 1991 (24 per cent) to 2013 survey results (12.8 per cent), there’s been little change from 2013 to 2016 (12.2 per cent).       “Tobacco kills one person every four seconds.” - World Health Organisation     Smoking tobacco causes cancer. This statement is a shocking but undeniable fact supported by evidence collected since the 1930s. But despite the overwhelming evidence from studies worldwide, some spanning 50 years or more, global tobacco use is still killing over 8 million people every year.      The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, “The pace of action to reduce tobacco demand and related death and disease is lagging behind global and national commitments.”       Tobacco deaths in Australia     In 2016 tobacco smoking was responsible for 24 per cent of all deaths in Australia. In the same year the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence reported that in NSW alone, on average 6,850 people died of smoking attributable deaths (58 per cent male and 42 per cent female). The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimate that 80 per cent of lung cancer and 75 per cent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a collective of lung diseases) are caused by smoking cigarettes.       Who’s still smoking?  The 2016 NDSHS showed:    The daily smoking rate for teenagers has declined by approximately 80 per cent since 2001   There were was no decline or improvements in daily use amongst people aged 40–49, this age group were most likely to smoke daily (16.9 per cent).    Little to no improvement in daily use amongst people aged 60 or older.    Lung facts How smoking affects the lungs:   Smoking tobacco paralyses the structures of your lungs that are responsible for sweeping away mucus and dirt from your airways.   Your lungs continue to grow well into adulthood, but inhaling the toxins in cigarette smoke slows this process and causes potentially irreversible lung damage.   The harmful effects of smoke on the lungs are almost immediate.   Babies born to mothers who smoke, or to women who are exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy, are likely to suffer reduced lung growth and function. Find out more about how smoking affects the body through the interactive  iCanQuit body chart .     Why quit now? The good news is your health improves from the moment you quit smoking. Within 2 to 12 weeks of quitting, the risk of heart attack is lowered, circulation is better, exercise is easier and lung function is improved. Even within 12 hours the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has decreased dramatically and oxygen levels are improving. Evidence also suggests that quitting can reduce anxiety. Your wallet will also get a rest! Saving money is a substantial benefit of quitting too.      It will still take you at least 10 years of quitting to lower your risk of lung cancer to less than half that of a continuing smoker, so it’s important to maintain your resolve and or help others who are quitting. Using the help offered by services like Quitline throughout your quit plan will help you keep on track. In fact, according to WHO “Tobacco users increase their absolute quit rate by 4 per cent using quitlines.”       Help to quit Call  Quitline  on 13 7848 (13 QUIT) for information and advice about quitting, assessment of your nicotine dependence, strategies on preparing to quit and staying quit.   The  Aboriginal Quitline  is also available on 13 7848 (13 QUIT). Run by Aboriginal Advisors, the Aboriginal Quitline is a telephone-based confidential advice and support service.     My QuitBuddy is an app for iPhone, Android and Windows developed by Quitline. The app helps you set goals, celebrate quit milestones, track the money you’ve saved from cutting cigarettes and games to distract you from cravings. The  My QuitBuddy app  is available free for download.     Join a supportive community to help you quit for good at  and for more information on Tobacco and it's effects visit the  A-Z of Drugs | Tobacco  page. 


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  2. World No Tobacco Day

    To highlight World No Tobacco Day,  NSW Health  is reminding the public of the dangers of smoking while pregnant.     Dr Jo Mitchell, Executive Director Centre for Population Health said the latest data shows 14.8 per cent of adults aged 16 years or older were smokers last year - a significant decline from 18 per cent in 2009, but relatively stable since 2015.     “Latest figures show 10.3 per cent of adults in NSW last year smoked daily and 4.5 per cent, occasionally,” Dr Mitchell said.     “There has also been a steady decline in smoking among pregnant women in NSW, from 10.4 per cent in 2012 to 8.8 per cent in 2017.     “However, that still means 8000 women smoked during pregnancy, which poses a significant risk to their own health, as well as their unborn babies.”     Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, including compounds known to cause cancer and other toxins which are potentially toxic to a developing foetus.     Clinical Professor Michael Nicholl, Senior Clinical Advisor of Obstetrics said smoking during pregnancy has been associated with poorer pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and premature births.     “The potential health impacts on infants include restricted growth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and stillbirth,” Clinical Professor Nicholl said.     “Even when a mother wants to quit, it can be a struggle. Pregnant women who  smoke and need support to help quit, should talk with their doctor, midwife or a trained adviser at NSW Quitline.”     Family, friends and others living with a pregnant woman are advised to quit smoking to support a woman’s attempt to quit and the health of the unborn baby.     Across NSW, health care professionals provide advice and support to assist  pregnant women to quit smoking, as part of routine antenatal care.     The  Quitline  provides a confidential, telephone based service to help smokers quit. Pregnant women and their household members who smoke can call  13 78 48  for caring, professional support.      In 2018-19, the NSW Government is investing more than $13.5 million on tobacco control, including quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of smoke-free laws, targeted programs for vulnerable groups and public awareness education campaigns.       Find out more about  Tobacco smoking and pregnancy  and how to get help to quit on the      A-Z of Drugs | Tobacco  page. 


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  3. New videos: Where can I get help?

    The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District have produced a series of videos in community languages that provide information on where and how to get help for drug and alcohol use, for yourself or for someone you care about.     The 'Where can I get help when alcohol or drugs are a problem?' videos are now available on YouTube in Arabic, Burmese, English, Farsi, Karenni, Kirundi, Mandarin and Swahili.   NSW drug and alcohol services welcome people from all cultures and provides support and treatment to people from a range of backgrounds. The video is available in the following languages:     Arabic     Burmese     Farsi     Karenni     Kirundi     Mandarin     Swahili     For further information on where to get treatment and support for alcohol and other drug use, visit the  Support & Treatment  page.     For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs 24 hours, 7 days a week, call the Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) on  1800 250 015 . 


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