The Australian Lung Foundation says new research has found an alarming number of Australians are affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The disease, commonly caused by cigarette smoking, is a long-term illness causing shortness of breath, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
A report by Access Economics has found almost one in five Australians aged over 40 have COPD, putting a direct $900 million burden on the health care system each year.
The report estimates overall costs to the economy at almost $9 billion annually.
Professor Peter Frith from the respiratory services unit at Adelaide Hospital says people need to made more aware of the disease so it can be detected earlier.
"Where we can get them to take on treatments that will actually help them to prevent them becoming disabled and dying early," he said.
Quote: Lung disease caused by cigarette smoking may cost $9b a year but when you subtract that figure from the Federal Governments tax on cigaretts (that was meant to cover ill-health) then the figure is diminished somewhat, so there is a bit of propaganda here by our corporate goverment and media. That is not to say people shouldn't give up smoking. Of course they should. Now!
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