17 December 2018

Only one in 10 ACT residents smoke daily and over half have never touched a cigarette

| Glynis Quinlan
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Quitting smoking - male hand crushing cigarette

The ACT has the lowest rate of daily smokers of any Australian state or territory.

ACT residents are leading the way when it comes to kicking the smoking habit with the territory having the lowest rate of daily smokers of any Australian state or territory.

The ACT also has the largest proportion of people who have never smoked with well over half of our population (59.7 per cent) never touching a cigarette.

This compares with the Northern Territory where less than half of residents (49.4 per cent) have never smoked.

New health data for 2017-18 released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that only around one in 10 ACT residents (10.6 per cent) smoke daily.

This is in marked contrast to the Northern Territory where around one in five people (19.6 per cent) smoke daily – the highest rate of daily smokers of all Australian jurisdictions.

However, since 1995, the Northern Territory has experienced the largest fall in daily smoking prevalence across the states and territories, falling from 35.6 per cent to 19.6 per cent.

Across Australia, young people appear to be losing interest in smoking with those aged between 18 and 24 more likely to have never smoked than a decade ago.

ABS Director of Health Statistics, Louise Gates said the 2017-18 National Health Survey found that one in seven people aged 18-24 were current daily smokers while three in four had never smoked.

This was an improvement on the 64 per cent in 2007-08 and 69 per cent in 2014-15 who had never smoked.

“There was also an increase in the proportion of all adults who had never smoked from 49 per cent in 2007-08 to 53 per cent in 2014-15 and 56 per cent in 2017-18,” Ms Gates said.

“This was primarily driven by the increase in young people who had never smoked.”

Ms Gates said the survey also revealed that young people smoked less than their older counterparts.

“Daily smokers aged 18-24 averaged 9.5 cigarettes per day compared with 13.8 for those aged 45 and over,” she said.

Men continued to be more likely than women to smoke daily (16.5 per cent compared to 11.1 per cent).

However, rates for both men and women have declined since 1995 when 27.3 per cent of men and 20.3 per cent of women smoked daily.

The National Health Survey was conducted in all states and territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia (excluding very remote areas) from July 2017 to June 2018. The survey included around 21,000 people in over 16,000 private dwellings. For more information click here.

Why do you think a smaller proportion of people smoke in the ACT than anywhere else in Australia? What is the main reason young people are losing interest in smoking? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Wonderful news. Unfortunately there is a link with mental illness and smoking too. So that might make it harder for some to stop, and slower to lower the figures more.

“Around 32% of people with mental illness smoke cigarettes, compared to just 18% of the general population. The rate is far higher among people with schizophrenia. It is estimated that nearly 40% of all smokers have a mental illness.”

(I admit to only reading the Abstract here.)

petunia petal8:53 am 19 Dec 18

This is a really good point. Many with mental health illness esp schizophrenia are very rarely treated holistically and medically (not just psychiatric treatment). Therefore many develop metabolic disorder, overweight, smoking related disease etc and as they present with psych symptoms those are what is treated and the medical side of things get ignored = lower life expectancy.

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