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In order to consider liability for smoking related claims it is necessary to consider three important factors:
1. Was the applicant's smoking habit related to service?
Any smoking history of the member prior to and subsequent to commencing military service is an important consideration, as is the frequency of smoking.
The fact that a member smoked prior to service does not in itself preclude a potential liability for a smoking-related condition e.g. a condition or aggravation of a condition resaulting from a service-related increase in smoking.
To assist in assessing a claim, delegates may refer to CLIK 26.7.2 Investigating and determining claims.
2. What was the degree to which the applicant's military service impacted on their smoking habit?
In circumstances where the member was a regular smoker prior to commencing military service, close scrutiny should be given to the question of whether the member's military service had a significant effect on the member's smoking, such that the smoking habit can be said to have been caused or contributed to by that service.
Generally, the member's military service must have had a significant effect on the habituation of the member's smoking so that the member continued to smoke during and after service or for a sufficient number of years (irresepective of whether this smoking continued after service) for it to be considered that the service-related smoking habit had the required connection to the claimed injury or disease.
3. If the applicant's smoking habit was related to their service, did that service-related smoking habit cause or contribute to the disease or injury that is the subject of the claim?
There must be medical evidence which establishes the requisite connection between smoking and the disease or injury that is the subject of the claim, having regard to the required standard of proof and contribution under the DRCA or preceding legislation.
In assessing this connection, consideration may be given to the intensity and duration of smoking and, where smoking had ceased, the proximity of the smoking habit to the onset of the disease or injury.