Tobacco Control Key Facts and Figures

Smoking prevalence rates

Page last updated: 04 October 2017

The Government relies on a number of sources to monitor smoking prevalence rates, including data from national surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and tobacco information collected nationally from secondary school students by the Cancer Council Victoria (CCV). 

National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15

On 8 December 2015, the ABS released the National Health Survey: First Results 2014-15.10 The survey was conducted nationally, across urban, rural and remote areas (other than very remote areas) from July 2014 to June 2015. Around 19,000 people in nearly 15,000 private dwellings undertook the survey. The report shows that in 2014-15:

  • 14.5% (14.7% (age-standardised)) of adults aged 18 years and over smoked daily (approximately 2.6 million smokers), decreasing from 16.1% (16.3% age-standardised) in 2011-2012 and 22.4% (22.3% age-standardised) in 2001;11,12,13 and
  • 16.9% of males and 12.1% of women smoked daily, decreasing from 18.3% and 14.1% respectively in 2014-15.
2001 2004-05 2007-08 2011-12 2014-15
Table 1: Decrease in the daily smoking rate for 18 years and over
22.3% 21.3% 19.1% 16.3% 14.7%

Source: ABS NHS: First Results 2014-15 (age-standardised to the 2001 Australian population)

Graph 1: Daily smoking in the general population people aged 18 years and older and key tobacco control measures implemented in Australia since 1990

Source: National Health Survey results: 1990, 1995, 2001, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2011-12 and 2014-15.

Text version of graph 1 (txt 1 KB)


10 ABS National Health Survey: First Results 2014-15. Available at:http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4364.0.55.0012014-15?OpenDocument.
11 These figures are reported as age-standardised rates, which are used to measure progress against the COAG benchmark for tobacco. Information about how the COAG benchmark for tobacco is calculated is available at http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/629977.
12 Findings from the 2013 NDSHS show that in Australia daily smokers aged 14 years and over declined from 24.3% in 1991 to 12.8% in 2013.
13 As the NHS and NDSHS are different surveys and have been conducted at different points in time, it is not appropriate to directly compare specific results from the two surveys. However, when looking at trends over the last two decades, findings from both surveys clearly show a marked decline in daily smoking prevalence in the general population.