First Nations people and smoking, vaping and tobacco

Smoking rates among First Nations people remain unacceptably high. This leads to a higher risk of serious disease and death. The use of e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, is causing new health harms. Find out what resources and support are available to reduce smoking and vaping in these communities.

Higher smoking rates

Tobacco use is more widespread among First Nations people although smoking rates vary between regions and communities.

In 2010 we began funding programs to reduce smoking among First Nations communities. Since then, tobacco use has substantially reduced. These programs, together with other measures outlined in the National Tobacco Strategy 2023–2030, are expected to contribute to further declines in smoking among First Nations communities.

The proportion of First Nations people, aged 15 years or more, who smoke daily has gradually reduced to 37% in 2018–19.

Among First Nations people tobacco smoking is:

  • the most preventable cause of ill health and early death
  • responsible for around 1 in 5 deaths
  • directly responsible for ⅓ of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Vaping rates

The latest national data shows that less than 1 in 10 First Nations adults have ever used e-cigarettes; this corresponds to 39,000 adults. Only 1 in 100 First Nations adults vaped regularly (1%) at that time, however the number is projected to be much higher now.

First Nations people who had tried vaping were more likely to be:

  • male
  • younger (under 45 years of age)
  • living in urban and regional areas.

The use of e-cigarettes is rising across Australia, particularly amongst youth. A study from 2017 found around 22% of First Nations secondary school students aged 12 to 17 years have tried vaping.

We are implementing a range of new vaping measures to reduce vaping rates and protect young people from the harms of vaping.


Choosing to live a smoke and vape free life benefits you, your family and your community. Quitting smoking and vaping is one of the best choices you can make for your health, and the health of those around you.

Read more about how to quit smoking and vaping. There’s a lot of help available to help you quit so just ask your health service, doctor, nurse, midwife and/or pharmacist.

Don't make smokes your story is a campaign designed to support First Nations people wanting to quit smoking.

Through the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, we support regional organisations to help First Nations people:

  • understand the impacts of smoking and vaping
  • quit smoking and vaping
  • to not start smoking or vaping.

For more information about smoke-free and vape free-activities in your region, reach out to your local TIS team and visit the TIS website.


Aboriginal Quitline

First Nations people can contact the Aboriginal Quitline for help to quit smoking. Call the hotline and ask to speak to an Aboriginal counsellor or request a callback. You can call between 8 am and 8 pm Monday to Friday, or visit their website any time, for culturally safe advice.


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