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Plain packaged cigarettes to benefit legs

Patients that suffer from debilitating leg ulcers will benefit from the federal government’s tobacco plain packaging laws that came into effect on Saturday, according to the Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA).

At any one time, there is over 300,000 Australians suffering leg wounds that require medical and nursing care. Wound care is one of the most frequently performed GP procedures and accounts for up to 80 per cent of community nursing treatments.

Dr Stephen Yelland said that tobacco use is closely linked to circulatory problems that contribute to lower leg problems.

“Establishing a patient’s smoking history is a crucial part of every consultation relating to the treatment of leg ulcers,” said Yelland. “Patients experiencing this painful and intransigent condition tend to be elderly people with a range of health issues, some related to being former smokers.

“Tobacco smoke, which includes a range of toxic chemicals, impedes blood circulation in the body and makes it very hard for wounds such as venous leg ulcers to heal naturally.”

Yelland said that the impact of smoking is totally avoidable and the government’s efforts to reduce tobacco consumption are to be welcomed, and requires the full support of the community.

“There is nothing glamorous about having weeping leg ulcers, whatever your age, so anything that could help reduce the desirability and acceptability of smoking deserves to be encouraged.”

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