This World No Tobacco Day (Friday, 31 May) the Stroke Foundation is congratulating the people who have reduced their stroke risk by successfully saying goodbye to cigarettes and is encouraging others to join them
Research shows the flow on health effects from this decision are immediate and the risk of a stroke can drop by as much as half after one year without smoking.
Stroke Foundation Health Promotion Advisory subcommittee spokesman Professor David Thomas said prevention was always the best option.
"People who have quit smoking for good have given themselves the best chance of living a healthy life and avoiding stroke and other smoking-related diseases," Professor Thomas said.
"Stroke is potentially deadly and is a leading cause of disability. It strikes the brain, the vital organ which controls how we function, think and feel.
"Smokers put themselves at double the risk of stroke, and it is a risk that is not worth taking."
Smoking can lead to stroke in a number of ways. It increases blood pressure, it contains thousands of toxic chemicals which get absorbed into the blood stream damaging blood vessels and causing arteries to narrow and harden and it makes the blood stickier, which can lead to blood clots.
It's estimated there will be more than 56,000 strokes in Australia this year, but more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by healthy living measures including a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Professor Thomas said it was encouraging to see Australia is tracking well in reducing smoking rates and stopping teens from taking up the habit in the first place.
"World No Tobacco Day serves as an opportunity to recognise the progress the nation has made, Professor Thomas said.
"Fewer than 15 percent of Australians now light up. That's nearly half as many as twenty years ago thanks largely to the government's world-leading tobacco control policies and legislation along with smoking prevention campaigns.
"However, there is more work to be done in communities with a high prevalence of smoking, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Australians struggling financially, the LGBTIQ community, people with a mental illness and people who have been in jail."
Stroke Foundation urges anyone who is still smoking to make the best decision for their overall health, reduce their stroke risk and quit today.
Australians are being urged to talk to your doctor about quitting or call the National Quitline on 13 78 48 (13 QUIT).