SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- In 2015, almost 21,000 Australians died from smoking-related disease – that’s more than 50 preventable deaths every day.
- Cancer is the number one cause of smoking-related death and illness in Australia (43% of the total burden of disease).
- Quitting smoking reduces the risk of smoking-related diseases in people of all ages.
Smoking and disease
was the number one cause of tobacco-related death and illness and was responsible for 43% of the healthy years lost due to smoking. currently causes the most cancer deaths in Australia and this is due mainly to smoking.
Smoking behaviours in Australia
In 2019, around 15% of people aged 18 years and over smoked. Of particular concern is the smoking rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which in 2018-19 was reported to be 43% among people aged 18 years and over - almost 3 times that of the wider community.
Selected statistics from the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey include:
- In 2019, the male smoking rate was 17% and the female smoking rate was 13% (where current smoking included people who smoked daily, weekly and less than weekly).
- Male smoking rates were higher in all adult age groups.
- People aged 40-49 years had higher smoking rates than other age groups, with a smoking rate of 19%.
- People aged 70 years and over were least likely to smoke (5%).
- Daily smoking rates for Australians aged 18 and over have dropped from 20% in 2001 to 12% in 2019.
- People who have quit smoking outnumber people who currently smoke. In 2019, over 24% of Australians had quit smoking during their lifetime.
- By 2019, 62% of people who had ever smoked had quit.
Smoking in Victoria
- The smoking rate for men (13.8%) was higher than for women (10.7%).
- People who had quit smoking greatly outnumbered people who currently smoked: 28% of people had quit smoking in Victoria.
- Smoking rates were higher among people with lower education: 16.7% of persons who had not completed year 12, compared to 10.1% of people who had completed year 12 or tertiary education.
The estimated that 3% of 12-15 year old students currently smoked. Among 16-17 year old students, 8% had smoked in the week before the survey. Alarmingly, the average age of adolescents taking up smoking is around 17 years old.
Smoking costs the Victorian community $3.7 billion per year. This figure includes costs to businesses, households and healthcare, and losses from fires, litter and money spent on tobacco. If all Victorian smokers quit, they would have $1.3 billion per year to spend on other goods and services in our economy.
Comparative death rates for people who smoke
Smoking-related diseases killed over 4,400 Victorians in 2011. That is over 3 times the number of Victorian deaths due to alcohol in the same year. One in 8 Victorians killed by tobacco were aged in their 30s, 40s or 50s.
Death rates from tobacco-caused disease are higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are more likely to die from these diseases at a younger age.
The benefits of quitting smoking
- Quitting before 40 years of age reduces your risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%, compared to someone who continues to smoke throughout their life.
- After 20 years of not smoking, your risk of has reduced to close to that of a person who has never smoked.
- Within 2 to 5 years of quitting, there is a large drop in your risk of and stroke.
Where to get help
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