Live Better

Smoking trends over the last 8 years

How the states’ smoking habits differ.

Since 2007-08, rates of smoking have declined by 32%, with 17.5% of Aussies over 18 smoking in 2007-08, compared to just 11.8% in the latest Index.

While we can see an overall decline in smoking on a national level, this trend is more pronounced in certain states. Queensland has seen the sharpest decline in smoking — at a huge 39.4%1 — followed by Tasmania, which has seen a 36%2 decline since 2007-08. The slowest rate of decline has been seen in SA, at 25.1%3.

Which state is smoking the most?

While all states are smoking less than they were in 2007-08, Tasmanians remain the most likely to smoke, at 13% of the population, with Queenslanders the least likely to smoke at 11.2% of the population. Tassie residents are also smoking the highest amount of cigarettes per day, at 1.55 on average.

Why we’re seeing the decline in smoking

It’s now well-known that smoking is extremely damaging to our health — being the major cause of cancer, accounting for about 20–30% of cancer cases, as well as a risk factor for respiratory disease and heart disease. Given its harmful affects, numerous measures have been put in place in Australia in recent years which could in part account for this drop in smoking, including higher cigarette pricing, the introduction of plain packaging and an increased focus on education.

It’s clear we’ve come a long way in tackling smoking, however there’s still a way to go. In Victoria alone, every year smoking still kills more people than road accidents, alcohol and other drugs combined. If you need some help kicking the habit, check out our guide to quitting — by Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White.

For more Medibank Better Health Index findings comparing the health of Australia’s states and territories, visit our State of the States collection.

1 Proportion of adults smoking in Queensland -From 18.5% in 2007-08 to 11.2% in 2015-16
2 Proportion of adults smoking in Tasmania -From 20.2% in 2007-08 to 13% in 2015-16
3 Proportion of adults smoking in South Australia -From 15.9% in 2007-08 to 11.9% in 2015-16

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