IT seems the prolific anti-smoking advertising campaign by the Cancer Council of Victoria in recent years is finally getting through to people.
New data shows the number of Victorians who smoke has dropped to record lows. Figures released yesterday revealed that one in seven adults smoked regularly last year, compared to one in five in 1998.
The overall smoker rate has dropped below 15 per cent a first according to the Cancer Council of Victoria's 2011 Smoking Prevalence and Consumption report.
The increasing number of people deciding to butt out is not only good for their own health, but is good for the entire community. It means that less money is needed to be spent on smoking-related illnesses. Almost 4000 Victorians die each year from tobacco-related illnesses.
But it's also the number of people surveyed for the report who have never taken up the habit that is important. In the survey of 4500 people, the report found more than half of Victorian adults aged under 50 had never smoked.
It seems that the young people are really getting the anti-smoking message, with 18-to-29-year-olds no longer the age group with the highest proportion of regular smokers.
The report, however, shows that men smoke slightly more commonly than women.
Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper says the figures prove tobacco control measures are effective at reducing smoking.
"We have gone through a period of significant action and tobacco reform over the last five years ," Mr Harper said.
But not being complacent is the key for continued success in the anti-smoking campaign.
In an effort to further reduce the number of people taking up the habit and to help those who do smoke to quit, the extensive campaign must not wane.
While some people have complained the anti-smoking campaign in the media has been more than confronting, it is this hard-hitting approach which seems to be hitting home and getting through to smokers that the habit is not only harmful to themselves, but also their loved ones around them.