Goal 9: Current smoking—people aged 15–17

This indicator reports on the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who smoke tobacco. The goal for this indicator is 9% 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 reported being current smokers decreased from 33% in 2002 to 13% in 2018–19.
  • The rate in 2018–19 (13.0%) was similar to the required trajectory point (12.8%), taking into account sampling error associated with the survey data.

In 2018–19:

  • 13% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 reported being current smokers—this was a decrease from 17% in 2014–15
  • Indigenous males aged 15–17 were more likely than Indigenous females of this age to be current smokers (16% compared with 9.5%)
  • Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 living in remote areas were over twice as likely to be current smokers than those living in non-remote areas—24% compared with 11%.

Figure 9.1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who reported being current smokers

This figure shows the baseline data from 1994 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 are current smokers are also plotted. New data show that in 2018–19, 12.9% of Indigenous youths aged 15–17 smoked.

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Figure 9.2: Youth aged 15–17 who reported being current smokers, by sex and Indigenous status, 2018–19

The figure shows the proportions of young people aged 15–17 who are current smokers, by sex and Indigenous status. It shows that males are more likely to smoke among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (16.0% and 3.3% respectively). It also shows that Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 are more likely to smoke than non-Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 (12.9% and 2.2%).

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Figure 9.3: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–17 who reported being current smokers, by remoteness, 2018–19

The figure shows that Indigenous youth are more likely to smoke in remote areas (24.4%) than in non-remote areas (10.6%).

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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.