On 24 November 2015, the Cancer Council Victoria released the 2014 Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco report.18
Over 23,000 secondary students aged between 12 and 17 years participated in the survey during June to December of the 2014 academic school year. The survey found that smoking among 12 to 15 years old is at its lowest level since 1984, when the survey began. Other key findings from the report were:
- youth smoking (12 to 17 years old) significantly decreased and in 2014, 5% were current smokers which were significantly lower than the 7% found in both 2011 and 2008; and
- more youth have no experience with smoking in their lifetime: 94% of 12 year olds and 61% of 17 year olds.
Specific population groups19
- People aged 14 years or older, living in remote and very remote areas, were twice as likely to have smoked daily in the previous 12 months as those in major cities: 22% compared with 11.0%.
- The proportion of people aged 14 years or older smoking daily rose with increasing remoteness: 11.0% in major cities; 15.4% in inner regional; 19.4% in outer regional; and 22% in remote and very remote areas.
Socioeconomic and employment status
- People aged 14 years or older living in areas with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) were three times more likely to smoke daily than people with the highest SES, 19.9% compared with 6.7%, but there were significant declines in daily smoking in both these groups between 2010 and 2013.
- The declines in daily smoking seen nationally were also seen among employed people but there were no significant changes in the smoking behaviour of unemployed people who were unable to work between 2010 and 2013.
- People aged 14 years or older, who were unemployed, were 1.7 times more likely to smoke daily and those who were unable to work were 2.4 times more likely to smoke daily.
- Compared to 2010, employed people aged 14 years or older were less likely to smoke daily in 2013, down from 16.1% to 13.5% respectively.
# statistically significant change between 2010 and 2013
18 Australian Secondary School Students’ use of tobacco. Available at: http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/Publishing.nsf/content/BCBF6B2C638E1202CA257ACD0020E35C/$File/Tobacco%20Report%202014.PDF.
19 Data Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey reports: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998 to 2013.
20 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011). 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Drug statistics series no. 25. Cat. No. PHE 145. Canberra: AIHW. Table 3.5: Tobacco smoking status, people aged 14years or older, by sex and state/territory, 2010. Online Table A7.1, Tobacco smoking status, people aged 14 years or older, by sex and state/territory, 2013 (age-standardised per cent). Available at: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=32212254712.
21 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report. Online Table A7.1, Tobacco smoking status, people aged 14 years or older, by sex and state/territory, 2013 (age-standardised). Available at: http://www.aihw.gov.au/alcohol-and-other-drugs/ndshs-2013.