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ABS: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking down 22%

19 Oct 2017

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 18 years and over who smoke tobacco decreased significantly from 55 per cent to 45 per cent, a fall of 22 per cent, over 20 years from 1994 to 2014–15, according to new modelling by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in partnership with the Menzies School of Health Research.

ABS Program Manager for Indigenous and Social Information Dean Bowley said the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15–17 years who smoke also decreased significantly from 30 per cent to 17 per cent.

“This research looked at smoking data from 12 ABS health and social surveys. It found the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 –17 years who smoke did not change before 2008 but decreased by an average 1.9 percentage points per year from 2008 onwards," Mr Bowley said.

"This suggests anti-smoking initiatives since 2008 are having an impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 18 years and over who have successfully quit smoking increased significantly from 24 per cent in 2002 to 36 per cent in 2014–15. Successful quitters increased by an average of 0.9 percentage points per year in non-remote areas, while there was no change in remote areas.

"Quitting smoking may be increasing due to better access to support services, tobacco control policies and activities and an increase in anti-smoking norms in non-remote areas,” said Head of Tobacco Control Research at Menzies Professor David Thomas.

Further information is available in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Smoking Trends, Australia, 1994 to 2014–15 (cat. no. 4737.0).

Find out more

Visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics website to view the original media release.