AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration AIHW corporate plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health care Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publications Online reports Rate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs AIHW annual reports Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health carePrisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Child protection Chronic disease indicators Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books Height and weight data sources Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity Mental health Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse
National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National framework for protecting Australia’s children (NFPAC) National indicator catalogue National Youth Information Framework (NYIF) Perinatal data Primary Health Network (PHN) Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CVDMAC HEAC
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Resources by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Embargoed access to AIHW material Media contacts
You are here:
Smoking is the single most important preventable cause of ill health and death in Australia . Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, of which over 70 cause cancer. When tobacco smoke is inhaled, these chemicals enter the lungs and spread through the body via the lymphatic system .
Smoking is linked to various cancers, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and hip fractures. It is also linked to reproductive problems in women. The chemicals in tobacco also affect people exposed to the smoke, known as second-hand or passive smoking .
Tobacco smoking is the smoking of tobacco products, including packet cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars or pipes .
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011–12 Australian Health Survey (AHS) collected information on tobacco smoking from respondents aged 15 and over. People were asked whether they had ever smoked, whether they were ex-smokers or had never smoked, and about the frequency of their smoking and the quantity and type of tobacco smoked .
Since daily smoking presents the greatest health risk, the results presented here relate to adults aged 18 and over who reported being daily smokers at the time of the survey.
Based on self-reported data from the 2011–12 AHS, nearly 1 in 6 people aged 18 and over (16%) smoke daily. Overall, a higher proportion of men (18%) smoke than women (14%).
The proportion of daily smokers is similar for people aged 18–54 (Figure 1). Among older people, daily smoking rates decrease with age and is at its lowest level at age 75 and over-4% for both men and women.
Source: ABS 2013. Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011–12. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.003. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics (see source data).
In 1989-90, 26% of persons aged 18 and over smoked daily, which fell to 22% in 2001 and 16% in 2011–12 (age-standardised; Figure 2). Australia's suite of tobacco control measures, which includes stronger smoke-free laws, tobacco price increases and greater exposure to mass media campaigns since 2004, have played a substantial role in reducing smoking prevalence among adults .
Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian population.
Source: ABS 2013. Gender indicators, Australia, January 2013. ABS cat. no. 4125.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics; AIHW 2012. Risk factor trends: age patterns in key health risk factors over time. Cat. no. PHE 166. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (see source data).
The proportion of adults who smoke daily differs across geographic areas and socioeconomic groups (Figure 3). Adults in Outer regional and remote areas are 1.5 times as likely to be daily smokers as those in Major cities (23% compared with 15% respectively).
Adults living in the most disadvantaged areas are 2.6 times as likely to smoke daily as those living in the least disadvantaged areas (24% compared with 9%).
Note: Q1–Q5 refers to area-based quintiles classified according to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas 2011 (SEIFA 2011), specifically the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD).
Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content—Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12 (see source data).
Daily smoking rates in Australia are among the lowest in the world. In 2013 (or the nearest year), 13% of the population aged 15 and over in Australia smoked, compared to 20% in the United Kingdom, 15% in Canada and 14% in the United States. Australia's rate was well below the average across 34 OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) (20%) .
Further details on tobacco smoking are available from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Conducted every three years, the survey provides information on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in Australia, as well as community attitudes to drug use.