Our organisation is part of ‘Smoke-Free Illawarra’, previously the Illawarra Tobacco Control Coalition. This joint government and community group works collaboratively to reduce the prevalence of smoking and reduce people’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the region. Smoke-Free Illawarra also includes representatives of NSW Health, the Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service and Illawarra Division of General Practice.
Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. It is a key risk factor in the development of the major diseases killing Australians – heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Discarded cigarette butts also comprise the major item of litter in Australia by weight. Discarded butts are not only unsightly on our streets, waterways and beaches, but they can cause death and disease in marine wildlife when eaten instead of food. Live butts are also a cause of many bush-fires during high-risk fire seasons.