4364.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2012  First Issue
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Contents >> Health risk factors >> Tobacco smoking


Smoking is a significant risk factor for chronic disease. It is important to monitor rates of smoking in the population to identify high risk groups, and recognise patterns in smoking behaviour.

Persons 18 years and over

In 2011-12, there were 2.8 million Australians aged 18 years and over who smoked daily (16.3%). This rate has decreased consistently over the past decade, from 18.9% in 2007-08 and 22.4% in 2001. Decreases in smoking rates have occurred across all age groups, and particularly amongst people aged under 45 years.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons who were current daily smokers, 2001, 2007-08 and 2011-12

Around 50.9% of adults reported that they had never smoked, 31.0% were ex-smokers and the remaining 1.8% smoked, but less often than daily.

Men were more likely to smoke daily than women in 2011-12 (18.2% compared with 14.4%). These rates have decreased since 2001, when 25.4% of men and 19.5% of women smoked daily.

The Northern Territory had the highest rate of daily smokers (23.9%) followed by Tasmania (21.8%), while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest rate (13.4%).

Persons 15-17 years

In 2011-12, smoking data was also collected for persons aged 15-17 years. Of people in this age group, 4.4% were daily smokers, 2.2% smoked less often than daily, 4.1% were ex-smokers, and 89.3% reported that they had never smoked.

Some under-reporting of persons identifying as current smokers may have occurred due to social pressures, particularly in cases where other household members were present at the interview. The extent to which under-reporting may have occurred is unknown. In the 2011-12 survey, interviewers were given the opportunity to indicate whether a parent was present at the time of the interview with respondents aged 15-17 years. Further analysis of the effect of this will be undertaken at a later date.

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