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Health Care Assignment: The psychosocial Perspective of Health in Australia


Task: Health Care Assignment Task:Explore the reasons why some people continue to smoke despite having a chronic respiratory disease. What social determinants of health will be affecting these decisions? Explain your response. Critically discuss the above question in light of your learning from this topic. Ensure all arguments and options are supported by relevant literature.


This particular health care assignment provides a detailed evaluation of the various psychosocial perspectives of healthcare in Australia. A proper discussion regarding the theoretical perspectives and thorough, in-depth analysis of the justification of the ideas and interpretations related to the various psychological impacts of smoking by the people who have a history of chronic pulmonary diseases. People with chronic respiratory disorders also incline to smoke more is a cause of concern for medical health investigators and other health experts in Australia(COPD, 2014). There are also some social detriments of health that are integral in affecting the decisions made by the patients of chronic respiratory diseases. A critical evaluation and discussion are also provided for a better understanding of the reasons and the consequences that are integral in this evaluation. This report provides a better understanding of the psychological perspectives of health and provides strategies for improving the healthcare of the general population of Australia. The analysis provides an overall articulation of the importance of health psychology in nursing for future practice.

Critical analysis
Cessation and withdrawal

Smoking tobacco is the single most preventable cause of ill health and death in Australia. The smoke that results from tobacco is known to contain more than 7000 chemicals, out of which over 70 are known to cause cancer (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019). The public health department of Australia is committed to creating public awareness regarding the ill effects of smoking. Most of the Australian population has regrets due to starting smoking and has made at least one attempt to quit it. Substantial amounts of evidence and data collected through all these years have been significant in determining the health hazards related to smoking. Therefore, there are a host of health benefits that can be obtained by successfully quitting smoking. As per Newby et al. (2020), the general health and well-being of the population can achieve sustainability by successfully quitting the habit of smoking. However, despite the serious health concern related to smoking, many people in Australia and worldwide continues to smoke. A significant number of smokers also have chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, and COPD.

Physical and mental hazards
As a person stops smoking, the number of harmful effects related to smoking starts declining. The extent of damage caused by smoking depends on the number of years and the amount the smoker had been smoking throughout the years. The effects of smoking cessation are visible at any time by the people who positively quit smoking. The nicotine and carbon monoxide levels begin to decline rapidly after a person successfully stops smoking. There are several diseases that can be caused by smoking in the long run. Among the dangerous conditions are stroke, heart diseases, peripheral vascular disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses like COPD. According to Oakman et al. (2020), overall health and nutrition can be affected by smoking, and quitting can improve the general health and quality of life of the Australian people. A significant improvement in the subjective well-being of people is noticed following cessation. Studies related to the mental health quality of non-smokers were published in 2014 (COPD, 2014) and they showed reduced depression, anxiety, and stress in the people who successfully quit smoking.

The number of smokers belonging to the general community saw a sharp decline in recent years;(Tobacco in Australia, 2016).However, there is a high smoking prevalence seen in people with mental illnesses. People with mental illnesses have higher dependencies on nicotine consumption and have disproportionate health and economic burden related to smoking.A recent survey has been done on the average life expectancy of smokers who had mental illnesses. The survey showed that Australian men lived 15.9 years and the women lived 12 years less than the ordinary people who have no mental illnesses (Prochaska, Das, & Young-Wolff, 2017).However, it has been found that the link between smoking and mental health is complex and varies according to the disorders of the individuals. As per the author,most people with psychological disorders attribute their smoking habits to relieving and managing psychiatric symptoms like depression, anxiety, and stress. People also had the wrong notion that people with mental illnesses witnessed relaxation with tobacco and smoking (Ross, Jennings, & Williams, 2017). However, recent studies and clinical evidence suggest that cessation or the quitting of smoking improves mental health considerably among the general population and people with psychological illnesses.

Legal implications
Apart from the mental health factors that are also few physical aspects that contributes to smoking in Australia. There are many cigarette and tobacco laws and businesses in South Australia related to the Tobacco and E-cigarette products Act of 1997 (Tobacco in Australia, 2016).A host of information is provided in the regulations, and information regarding various areas is available in the areas of smoke-free dining outdoor laws, renewal of retail tobacco license, and regulatory requirements of retail tobacco and cigarette sale. Several amendments and changes related to the smoking laws of South Australia are included in the legislation after 31 st march 2019. The government of Australia is committed to banning advertisements, packaging, and public smoking related to the control of tobacco products (, 2021). There is also a significant age limit for smoking and buying tobacco products. There are advertising laws related to banning advertisements that can promote or persuade people to adopt smoking practices.

The Tobacco Advertising Prohibition act of 1992 controls and governs this particular aspect of law. The plain packaging act of 2011 reinforces the tobacco companies to adopt basic packaging methods for cigarettes (Tobacco in Australia, 2016). Taxes and other mandatory laws prohibiting smoking in public places are placed in the context of accordance. The tariffs are implemented by the government in such a way that it becomes less affordable for the buyers. This is a step undertaken by the government to discourage cigarette use by the general population of Australia. Other than these direct legal implications, other laws are put in place by the government of Australia related to the e-cigarette, illicit tobacco, smoke-free public places age limits(Australian Government Department of Health, 2019). The overall implementation of these laws can assure the government of a smoke-free culture that can dominate Australian society can considerably increase the quality of lives of the general Australian people.

Reasons for smoking despite serious health issues
COPD is a severe respiratory disease that affects a large percentage of smokers worldwide. The Australian population also carries a significant amount of people with the disease. The risks of getting the disease increase with smoking and is considered one of the leading causes of death in Australia and worldwide. It can also result in many complications related to the lung health of the general population. Despite serious safety concerns and measures taken by the government, a lack of public awareness associated with COPD and other respiratory health issues can be attributed to increased smokers with COPD (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019).The smoking rates in Australia are higher in the regional and remote areas than in the urban and suburban areas. People also carry high rates of smoking in areas where the population is deprived of many socioeconomic advantages. An approximate percentage of 30 to 40% of people with COPD continue to smoke, and often people with COPD find it more challenging to quit smoking than other smokers.

Complex interaction with the social, economic, physiological, and cultural factors is associated with the higher smoking rates of disadvantaged groups. The factors that accumulate smoking trends in these people with minor privileges originate during their childhood. Poor health literacy is also an integral factor in deciding the outcome of COPD patients. People with inadequate health literacy face a lot of issues related to socioeconomic disadvantages. People with socioeconomic disadvantage can have a low ability to take proper medication and maintain good healthcare habits and ultimately respond well to the medicines of COPD promptly (West, 2017).The smoking rate of the aboriginals of the Torres Strait Islanders is 41% which is more than double the rate for the population of Australia. Likewise, the Torres Strait Islander aboriginals have approximately 2.5 times the rate of COPD compared to other Australians.

The rising COPD cases in the Australian subcontinent have been an increasing concern for the government and health officials (COPD, 2014). A lack of culturally safe services for the Torres Strait aboriginals and low health literacy services are the primary reasons that can be attributed to the barrier formed against adequate healthcare access. Social and economic issues like proper access to income, education, and employment are the three factors that decide the fate of the Aboriginals of Torres Strait.

COPD symptoms include shortness of breath with little or no exertion and coughing up phlegm with wheezing. Severe patients may require hospitalization that istriggered by recurring infections of the respiratory tract. The vaccination against the influenza virus reduces the risk for the flares of COPD and minimizes the severity by a significant amount in patients.

It is also said to reduce the death rate of COPD patients by a substantial percentage (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019). Therefore, the health workers of Australia need to educate the people of the underprivileged society to get vaccinated against the influenza virus so that they get better protection from respiratory diseases. The smoking-prone community of the aboriginals needs to go through various rehabilitators practices regarding pulmonary health. The tribes of Torres Strait Islanders need to improve their exercise capacity and quality of life to reduce hospitalizations for pulmonary illnesses like COPD that can have a detrimental impact on the lives of the Australians. There are also a few other aspects that can help reduce the severity of COPD among smokers belonging to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. Reduction in smoking rates by regular campaigning done by health workers are required to discourage excessive smoking habits (Druery et al., 2017).Primary healthcare providers in Australia can educate the Aboriginals regarding the proper usage of inhalers and other medications. Using holistic approaches like exercise and yoga can also considerably decrease the severity of patients who are chronically ill.

A collective and coordinated approach to improve environmental and individual health should be the topmost priority for the health department of Australia. Proper strategies need to be developed to build people's capacity to understand their preferences and decision-making abilities regarding their healthcare. The power of the healthcare system also needs to be expanded to provide access to primary social and economic requirements of the Aboriginals as other citizens of Australia residing in urban and suburban areas (Hopkins et al., 2015).Strategies like improving communication about COPD and using simple telephonic follow-ups and case management can help mitigate the various issues faced by the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders.

The pulmonary rehabilitation program is a program that exercises the various strategies required for improvement in the breathing functions of patients with COPD. The techniques are developed by specialized health professionals dedicated to creating a holistic healing approach for the patients (Galea, Merchant, & Lurie, 2020). There are a few reasons that can be attributed to the variation and the differences in services to the Aboriginals compared to urban people in Australia. They are the access to community rehabilitation programs and services set up by the health department, inability to buy medications and supplemental oxygen whenever required, and access to secondary prevention programs that support regular physical activities and a healthy diet that reduces the need for hospitalization of COPD patients.

The government of Australia is keen to undertake various rehabilitation programs to reduce the number of COPD patients belonging to the Aboriginal community. However, various socioeconomic barriers like access to primary healthcare and low health literacy rates force the aboriginals to adopt unhealthy habits like excessive smoking. This has led to an exponential rise in the number of COPD patients among the tribes. The proper access to primary healthcare and rehabilitation programs can assure the community of reduced critical respiratory illnesses. The use and implementation of specific laws and regulations can prove instrumental in detaching the community from excessive smoking habits. However, pulmonary rehabilitation within the community settings has positively shown results related to the reduced hospitalizations and improved attendance in the programs. Proper and easy access to the community can significantly help health professionals to access the rural areas and educate the people about the hazards of smoking. The ignorance of many aboriginal people has led to the increase in chronic respiratory illnesses in Australia that needs to be addressed with immediate priority.

Australian Government Department of Health. (2019, May 17). Smoking and tobacco laws in Australia. Retrieved May 31, 2021, from Australian Government Department of Health website:

COPD.(2014). Chronic disease and infection | 53 The Second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation. Retrieved from website:

Druery, M., Newcombe, P. A., Cameron, C. M., &Lipman, J. (2017). Factors influencing psychological, social and health outcomes after significant burn injuries in adults: cohort study protocol. BMJ Open, 7(6), e017545.

Galea, S., Merchant, R. M., & Lurie, N. (2020). The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical Distancing: the Need for Prevention and Early Intervention. JAMA Internal Medicine, 180(6), 817–818.

Hopkins, K. D., Shepherd, C. C. J., Taylor, C. L., &Zubrick, S. R. (2015). Relationships between Psychosocial Resilience and Physical Health Status of Western Australian Urban Aboriginal Youth.PLOS ONE, 10(12), e0145382.

Newby, J. M., O’Moore, K., Tang, S., Christensen, H., &Faasse, K. (2020).Acute mental health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.PLOS ONE, 15(7), e0236562.

Oakman, J., Kinsman, N., Stuckey, R., Graham, M., &Weale, V. (2020). A rapid review of mental and physical health effects of working at home: how do we optimize health? BMC Public Health, 20(1).

Prochaska, J. J., Das, S., & Young-Wolff, K. C. (2017). Smoking, Mental Illness, and Public Health.Annual Review of Public Health, 38(1), 165–185.

Ross, L., Jennings, P., & Williams, B. (2017). Psychosocial Support Issues Affecting Older Patients: A Cross-sectional Paramedic Perspective. INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, 54(1), 004695801773196. (2021, January 7).Tobacco and e-cigarette laws and businesses. Retrieved May 31, 2021, from website:

Tobacco in Australia. (2016). Chapter 7: Cessation - Tobacco in Australia. Retrieved May 31, 2021, from website:

West, R. (2017). Tobacco smoking: Health impact, prevalence, correlates, and interventions. Psychology & Health, 32(8), 1018–1036.


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