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: 11 December 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).

National Household Drug Strategy Household Survey

On 25 November 2014, AIHW’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013 (NDSHS)3 was released showing that there has been a significant decrease in daily smokers aged 14 years or older in Australia, falling from 16.6% in 2007, to 15.1% in 2010, to 12.8% in 2013.

Table 1: Daily smokers aged 14 years or older from 1991 to 20134

199119931995199820012004200720102013
Total %24.325.023.821.819.417.516.615.112.8#
The NDSHS also reports that smoking rates have almost halved in the last 20 years, from 1993 to 2013, for daily smokers aged 18 years or older, from 26.1% to 13.3%.

Table 2: Daily smokers aged 18 years or older from 1991 to 20135

19911993*1995199820012004200720102013
Total %25.026.125.022.720.218.217.515.913.3#
*age group 20+ fo 1993
# statistically significant change between 2010 and 2013

Other tobacco related findings from the NDSHS detailed report 2013 are:
  • Young people are delaying commencing smoking - the age at which 14 to 24 year olds smoked their first full cigarette increased from 15.4 years of age in 2010 to 15.9 years of age in 2013.
  • The proportion of 12-17 year olds who had never smoked in 2013 remained high at 95%
  • The proportion of 18 to 24 year olds who have never smoked increased significantly between 2010 and 2013, from 72% to 77% respectively.
  • People aged 18 to 49 years of age were far less likely to smoke daily than they were 12 years ago.
  • The average number of cigarettes smoked per week has decreased from 111 cigarettes in 2010 to 96 cigarettes in 2013.

Table 3: Comparison of 2010 and 2013 State and Territory tobacco smoking status, people aged 14 years or older, by sex and jurisdiction (aged-standardised)

2010NSWVicQLDWASATasACTNTNational
Males15.615.018.417.517.116.112.027.516.4
Females12.914.715.013.613.115.810.116.813.9
Persons14.214.916.715.615.015.911.022.315.1
2013NSWVicQLDWASATasACTNTNational
Males13.314.017.015.712.919.89.623.614.6
Females10.310.613.38.913.013.19.717.611.2
Persons11.812.3#15.212.3#13.016.59.720.812.9#
# statistically significant change between 2010 and 2013

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 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Drug statistics series no. 28. Cat. No. PHE 183. Canberra AIHW.
Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/alcohol-and-other-drugs/ndshs-2013/
4 National Drug Strategy Household surveys 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004-2013 is from the NDSHS detailed report 2013.
Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129549469&tab=3 Table 3.2: Tobacco smoking status, people aged 14 years or older by sex, 2004 to 2013 (per cent)
5 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Drug statistics series no. 28. Cat. No. PHE 183. Canberra AIHW.
Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129549469&tab=3 Table S3.1: Daily smoking, people aged 18 years or older by sex, 1991 to 2013 (per cent)
6 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129549469&tab=3 Table A7.1, Tobacco smoking status, people aged 14 years or older, by sex and state/territory, 2013 (age-standardised per cent)



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

Resources

Australian cigarette ingredient disclosure

Australian cigarette emissions data

Taxation

Education

Reduced-ignition propensity cigarettes

Environmental tobacco smoke

Tobacco product regulation and disclosure


Related links


Page last reviewed: February 2013