Goal 10: Never smoked—people aged 15–17

This indicator reports on the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who have never smoked. The goal for this indicator is 91% by 2023.

Why is it important?

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Australia. In the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011, tobacco smoking was estimated to contribute 12% of the disease burden among Indigenous Australians. Smoking was also the risk factor most responsible for the gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous Australians in 2011, accounting for 23% of the total gap (AIHW 2016).

What data are available?

Data for this indicator were sourced from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health surveys and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social surveys.

What do the data show?

Progress towards the goal is on track.

  • The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who had never smoked increased from 61% in 2002 to 85% in 2018–19.
  • In 2018–19, the rate (84.6%) was slightly below the trajectory point required to meet the goal (85.6%). However, taking into account sampling error associated with the survey data, the goal can be considered on track. 

In 2018–19:

  • 85% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 reported having never smoked—this was an increase from 78% in 2014–15
  • 85% of Indigenous youth aged 15–17 in non-remote areas had never smoked, compared with 74% in remote areas
  • the proportion of Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 who had never smoked was similar between males (83%) and females (84%).

Figure 10.1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who reported having never smoked

This figure shows the baseline data from 2002 to 2012–13, trajectory to the goal from 2014 to 2023. New data from 2014 to 2018 for the proportion of Indigenous youth aged 15–17 who have never smoked are plotted. New data show that in 2018–19, 84.5% of Indigenous youths aged 15–17 had never smoked.

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Figure 10.2: Youth aged 15–17 who reported having never smoked, by sex and Indigenous status, 2018–19

The figure shows the proportions of young people aged 15–17 who have never smoked, by sex and Indigenous status. It shows that females are more likely to have never smoked among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (84.4% and 97.5% respectively). It also shows that Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 are less likely to have never smoked than non-Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 (84.5% and 96.2%).

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Figure 10.3: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who reported having never smoked, by remoteness, 2018–19

The figure shows that Indigenous youth are more likely to have never smoked in non-remote areas (85.1%) than in remote areas (74.4%).

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References

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2016. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011. Australian Burden of Disease Study series 6. Cat. no. BOD 7. Canberra: AIHW.