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Of all the risk factors for ill health, tobacco smoking is responsible for the greatest burden on the health of Australians, accounting for 7.8% of the total burden of disease in 2003 (see The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003 for more detail).
Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for:
In 2003, an estimated 15,511 people died in Australia as a result of tobacco smoking.
Results from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey show that, in 2013, for Australians aged 14 years and over:
Smoking rates among Australian adults have declined steadily since the early 1970s. Since 1991, the proportion of daily smokers has almost halved (from 24.3% to 12.8% respectively).
Breathing in environmental tobacco smoke (otherwise known as passive smoking) consists of inhaling sidestream smoke directly from burning tobacco and exhaled mainstream smoke.
The following health problems have been associated with passive smoking:
The effects of passive smoking are a focus of concern, particularly for children. Results from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey show that parents and guardians are choosing to reduce their children's exposure to tobacco smoke at home. Between 1995 and 2013, the proportion of households with dependent children where someone smoked inside the home fell from 31% to just 3.7%.
For more information see Chapter 5 of Australia's health 2014.
Alcohol and other drugs
The Cancer Council of Victoria