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Monday 28 May 2012

Click here to download Professor West's PowerPoint presentation

AASCP was officially launched today by Professor Robert West, marking the beginning of a new era for Australian smokers.

Professor Robert West is Professor of Health Psychology at London College University and Editor in Chief of the international journal of Addiction (shown at left with President, Assoc Prof Renee Bittoun).

Over 60 guests heard Professor West argue that 'providing smoking patients with anything less than optimal care is public health negligence – like clinical negligence but capable of killing far more people'.

‘Fewer than 5% of unaided quit attempts succeed for a year. The evidence is overwhelming that the best results are from a combination of behavioural support and medication’ he said. The more time smokers waste trying unsuccessfully to quit, the more their life is being shortened. ‘Every day a smoker in the mid-thirties smokes, he or she loses 6 hours per day of life expectancy’ he said.

‘Evidence from the UK has shown that this kind of support is among the most cost-effective ways of saving human lives that is available to modern medicine’.

Professor West added ‘AASCP is a huge leap forward in recognising this and will set the scene in Australia for ensuring that those smokers who do decide to seek help with stopping will get the best possible clinical care. It will lead to the saving of many lives and is something of which Australia, typically in the vanguard of tobacco control worldwide, can be rightly proud.’

Professor Ian Hickie, CEO of the Brain and Mind Institute also spoke about the neglect of smoking and its harm to smokers with mental illness. Psychiatrists and mental health workers focus on mental health problems, however smoking is the major risk factor for their poor physical health and is much more likely to kill them than their psychiatric condition.

Professor Bittoun explained that AASCP aims to promote best practice, evidence-based smoking cessation techniques by health professionals and to help them maintain those standards.

Former smoker Bob Passier is a good example of the need for professional help. Bob described his tortured jouExec-Committee-cropped-web.jpgrney over many decades, trying to quit smoking unsuccessfully. It was only after he consulted Renee Bittoun in 2010 that he finally got the right advice and medication and is now a delighted and grateful ex-smoker!

To download Bob Passier's presentation click here.

Please contact us if you are interested in joining AASCP or finding out more about the Association.

The Executive Committee who organised the launch is shown above:
L to R: Chloe Sharp - administrator, Louise Willis, Donna Harrison, Renee Bittoun - president, Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Lynn Baucia, Melinda Barone, Bob Passier - consumer representative.

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