1.13 Smoking by Australian states and territories

Last updated: July 2020 
Suggested citation: Greenhalgh, EM, Bayly, M, & Scollo M. 1.14 Smoking by Australian states and territories. In Greenhalgh, EM, Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors].  Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2020. Available from http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-1-prevalence/1-13-smoking-states-territories

 

Smoking prevalence varies across Australian states and territories; however, it is important to note that estimates of prevalence in each state and territory may be less reliable than those for the total population.

1.13.1 Latest estimates of prevalence in Australian states and territories

Table 1.14.1 sets out estimates for prevalence of smoking, ex-smoking and never smoking in each state and territory in among Australians 14 years and older from the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household survey.1

Table 1.13.1
Prevalence of daily, regular and current smoking* for Australians 14+ by sex, 2019, in each state and territory  and Australia (age standardized) 

 

 

*Includes persons smoking any combination of cigarettes (factory-made and roll-your-own), pipes or cigars

Smoked more than 100 cigarettes (manufactured or roll-your own) or the equivalent amount of tobacco in their life but reports no longer smoking.

‡Never smoked more than 100 cigarettes (manufactured or roll-your own) or the equivalent amount of tobacco.

^ Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Data tables: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 – S. State fact sheet supplementary tables. Table S.8, state and territory tables. Cat. no. PHE 270 Canberra: AIHW, 2020. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/national-drug-strategy-household-survey-2019/data.

 

National Health Survey

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey also provides data on smoking prevalence for each state and territory in 2014–15 and again in 2017–18, see Table 1.13.2. Note data is for Australians 18 and over whereas the data above from the NDSHS is for Australians 14 and over.

Table 1.13.2
Prevalence of daily smoking for Australians 18+, 2014–15, and 2017-2018 in each state and territory (Raw percentages, not age adjusted)

 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey: First Results, 2014–15 and NHS: First Results: 2017–18 and (Table 2.3 Summary health characteristics — states and territories, age adjusted) and Table 2.4 Margins of error of proportion)

1.13.2 Trends in prevalence in Australian states and territories

To assess changes over time in in the prevalence of regular smoking (daily plus weekly) for Australians 18+ between states, data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey for people aged 18 years and over were weighted to the Australian population appropriate for each survey year and examined by state. (Data for regular smoking for 2019 will be obtained and added once the data-file becomes available.) As shown in Figure 1.13.1, since 2001, adults in the Northern Territory (NT) have consistently had the highest level of regular smoking among those aged 18+ years (20% in 2016). In 2016, residents of NT were significantly more likely to be regular smokers than people from any other state except Tasmania and Queensland (controlling for age and sex). High smoking rates in the NT may reflect the high percentage of Indigenous Australians residing there—smoking rates among all Indigenous Australians were about 39% in 2014–152 —see Section 8.3. About 26% of the residents of the NT are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island origin, compared with 5% or less in all other states and territories.3

 

Figure 1.13.1
Prevalence of regular* smoking, Australians aged 18+, 2001–16—by each Australian state and territory

* Includes those reporting that they smoke ‘daily’ or ‘at least weekly’.
† Includes persons smoking any combination of cigarettes, pipes or cigars.
‡ All data weighted to the Australian population appropriate for each survey year and may vary slightly from data presented in previous edition
Source: Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer analysis of National Drug Strategy Household Survey data since 2001.

 

Significant linear declines in adult regular smoking prevalence from 2001 to 2016 have been observed in all states and territories (controlling for age and sex). For the period of 2013 to 2016, there were no significant declines in smoking prevalence in any state or territory.

 

Relevant news and research

For recent news items and research on this topic, click here.(Last updated October 2020)

References

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National drug strategy household survey (ndshs) 2016 key findings data tables. Canberra: AIHW, 2017. Available from: https:// www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/2016-ndshs-detailed/data.

2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4714.0 - national aboriginal and torres strait islander social survey, 2014-15. 2016. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4714.0

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2071.0 - census of population and housing: Reflecting Australia - stories from the census, 2016. 2017. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/2071.0~2016~Main%20Features~Aboriginal%20and%20Torres%20Strait%20Islander%20Population%20Data%20Summary~10