4724.0.55.002 - Tobacco Smoking in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, 2004-05  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/07/2009   
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The information in this publication is about regular smokers aged 18 years and over. Regular smokers are people who smoke one or more cigarettes a day, on average.

Why is tobacco smoking an important health issue for Indigenous people?
Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. Smoking tobacco increases the risk of numerous cancers (such as those of the mouth and lungs), heart and vascular diseases, respiratory diseases and a variety of other health conditions.

Tobacco smoking is associated with risky drinking, poor diet and physical inactivity. In 2004-05, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who smoked regularly:

    • were more than twice as likely as non-smokers (includes ex-smokers) to report long-term risky to high risk levels of alcohol consumption (23% compared with 9%).
    • were almost twice as likely as non-smokers to report that they did not eat fruit on a daily basis (19% compared with 10%).
    • were more likely than non-smokers to have an inactive lifestyle (51% compared with 42% in non-remote areas).

Indigenous adults who had experienced more than one life stressor in the 12 months before the 2004-05 survey had higher rates of tobacco smoking (54%) than did those who reported that they had experienced only one or no stressful circumstances (46%).

Similarly, Indigenous people in households that had experienced financial stress in the past year were more likely to be daily smokers than those whose households had not experienced financial stress (58% compared with 41%).