Smoking lowest in NSW-national drug survey

Daily smoking rates among Australians aged 14 years and over are as low as 18.1% in New South Wales, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

This is one of the lowest rates in the developed world.

Other States and Territories to go below the 20% mark were the ACT (18.4%) and Victoria (19.4%).

The highest rate was in the Northern Territory at 27.9%.

Smoking rates for the remaining four States were Western Australia (20.1%), South Australia (20.4%), Tasmania (21.0%) and Queensland (21.1%).

Report co-author Mark Cooper-Stanbury says that the pattern for each age group was similar across all states, but small numbers of participants in the survey in smaller jurisdictions causes difficulty in interpretation of the results. The 20-29 and 30-39 year age groups appear to have the highest smoking rates across all States and Territories.

The AIHW report, 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: State and Territory Supplement, also shows that alcohol continues to be the most popular drug in Australian society, with 80% consuming it in the past 12 months.

The prevalence of daily drinking was around 8% in all States and Territories.

One in three Australians aged over 14 had at least one risky or high risk drinking session in the past year, ranging from 32% in New South Wales to 45% in the Northern Territory.
The pattern of illicit drug use varied considerably across the country, with the general finding that use is higher in the Northern Territory and Western Australia than in other parts of Australia.

Among Australians aged 14-24 years, around 28% have used cannabis in the past 12 months, ranging from 22% in Tasmania to 37% in the Northern Territory.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey covered 27,000 Australians living in residential households.

30 August 2002


Further information: Mark Cooper-Stanbury, 02 6289 7027, 0408 417 340
For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, tel. 02 6244 1032.