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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) presents baseline data for indicators established under the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018.

The report, Tobacco Indicators Baseline Data: Reporting under the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018 examines data relevant to the baseline year (2012) for the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018. As no single tobacco-related data collection is sufficient to inform all indicators reported, different data sources and collection years (from 2007-08 to 2011) have been used.

'By looking at baseline data, we can establish a starting point from which progress can be monitored over time,' said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck.

Smoking prevalence varies across population groups in Australia, with smoking rates and deaths higher among those who are most disadvantaged.

The report presents indicators in line with key 'themes' related to tobacco smoking; in particular, the idea of 'phases' of smoking: exposure, uptake, transition, established and cessation. These aim to provide better insight into smoking patterns and the factors that influence a person's smoking behaviour throughout their lives.

'For example, an indicator related to exposure is "Fewer children exposed to second-hand smoke at home", while a cessation indicator is "More adult smokers attempting to quit",' Mr Neideck said.

Some indicators look at particular population groups at a high risk of smoking, or with particularly poor health outcomes related to smoking-for example, "Fewer adults smoking regularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people" and "Fewer adults smoking regularly among people of low socioeconomic status".

'Over time, we hope a stronger picture will emerge of smoking patterns in Australia, providing better insight into the factors that influence people to start smoking, change their smoking habits, and quit,' Mr Neideck said.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 16 September

Further information: Mr Geoff Neideck, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1163, mob. 0439 878 933

Full publication: Tobacco Indicators Baseline Data: Reporting under the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018