Tobacco Control

Policy and programs to improve the health of all Australians by eliminating or reducing their exposure to tobacco in all its forms.

Page last updated: 10 June 2014

Smoking tobacco is recognised as one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia. Each year, smoking kills an estimated 15,000 Australians1 and costs Australia $31.5 billion2 in social (including health) and economic costs.

The Australian Government and state and territory governments, through the Council of Australian Governments, have committed by 2018, to reduce the national adult daily smoking rate to 10% and halve the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult daily smoking rate (from 47% in 2008).

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian Health Survey: Updated Results 2011-123 (released on 30 July 2013) reported that in 2011-12, 16.3% of Australians aged 18 years and older smoked daily (age standardised). This rate has steadily decreased from 22.3% in 2001 to 16.3% in 2011-12. Males were more likely to smoke daily than females, 18.3% compared with 14.1%. These rates have also decreased since 2001, when 27.2% of males and 21.2% of females smoked daily.

The ABS, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: First Results, 2012-134 shows that 39.8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians aged 15 years and over and 41.2% aged 18 years and over (both age standardised) smoked daily. Males had higher daily smoking rates than females. For 15 years and over, the rates were 41.5% (males) and 38.2% (females) and for males and females aged 18 years and over the rates were 42.9% and 39.7%, respectively.

1 Begg S., Vos T., Barker B., Stevenson C., Stanley L., and Lopez AD., (2007) The Burden of Disease and Injury in Australia 2003, PHE 82 Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, p76.
2 Collins D., and Lapsley H., (2008) The Cost of Tobacco, Alcohol and Illicit Drug Abuse to Australian Society in 2004/05, Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health and Ageing, Monograph Series No.64, p65.
3 ABS, Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12, released 30 July 2013, Table 2.1, Smoker Status. Available from:
4 ABS, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Updated Results, 2012-13 – Australia. Table 10.3 Health Risk Factors, released 26 March 2014. Available from:

National Tobacco Strategy - a policy framework to improve health and reduce the social costs caused by tobacco.

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - a treaty to address the health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption worldwide

Advertising - Australian legislation bans tobacco advertising (with some exceptions)

Health warnings - health warnings are required on tobacco products sold in Australia

Plain packaging of tobacco products


Australian cigarette ingredient disclosure

Australian cigarette emissions data



Reduced-ignition propensity cigarettes

Environmental tobacco smoke

Tobacco product regulation and disclosure

Related links

Page last reviewed: February 2013