I've lived in Crookwell for the past 14 years and I chair the Crookwell Hospital Community Consultation Committee.
Together with Dianne Layden, Beryl Croker, Lynne Van Veen, Darian Cameron and Pam Kensit we listen to community concerns about the Crookwell Hospital or health issues in general and relay them to the management of our local Health District.
As part of our committee's work over the next 12 months the Crookwell Gazette will publish articles relating to keeping healthy.
Just over 12 months ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer after smoking for over 40 years.
Like many others, I heard the warnings about the risks of smoking but despite many attempts to give it up, it took an episode of pneumonia to make me stop.
Shortly after that I was diagnosed with lung cancer.
I thought it would never happen to me!
After a major operation to remove the lower lobe of my right lung and 12 months of slow recovery I still do not smoke.
I feel better and have saved money. I smell better and do not need to disappear to indulge in what has become a totally unacceptable habit.
As part of this committee, I was pleased to learn that within the local health district of the Southern Region, smoking rates of have dropped since 2002.
Current smoking rates in adults are 15.6 per cent (2017), smoking in pregnancy is 14.1 per cent (2017), smoking attributable deaths are 74.8/100,000 (2016) and smoking attributable hospitalizations is 574.1/100,000
The effects of smoking are estimated to cost the Australian healthcare system $320 million every year.
Help is available; Quit lines, hypnotherapy, GP-guided use of patches and nicotine replacement options can help but ultimately, a determination to feel healthier has spurred me on.
Like Yul Brenner said "Just don't smoke."