Surprising number of Aussie smokers revealed in new ABS data

A surprising number of Australians remain daily smokers despite fresh data indicating the number of people with the habit has fallen in the last decade.

One in 10 adults, or 1.9 million people, identified as someone who regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars, or pipes per day, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed.

Overall, the proportion of adults who were daily smokers has fallen over the last decade, down from 16.1 per cent in 2011-12 to just over 10 per cent in 2021-21.

The proportion of people aged 18-44 years who said they were current daily smokers has almost halved in the same time period.

Nationally, the average age of those who identify as current daily smokers has increased.

In 2021-21, the average age was 46, up from 42 years a decade ago.

The number of daily smokers has decreased across all age groups, except for those aged 55-64 and 65 years and over.

During the same period, the proportion of young people aged 18-24 years who were current daily smokers has halved (16.5 per cent in 2011-12 to 7.1 per cent in 2021-22).

A majority (96.8 per cent) of young people aged 15 to 17 years were current nonsmokers in 2021-22, up from 94.2 per cent a decade ago.

However, the analysis excluded people who used electronic cigarettes (including vapes), chewing tobacco and those who smoked non-tobacco products.

Men were found to be more likely than women to be current daily smokers, 12 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

Adults born in Australia and those who speak English at home were also statistically more likely to be smokers.

Almost one in five (18.6 per cent) people who were unemployed were current daily smokers.

People who lived in areas of disadvantage were more than three times as likely to be current smokers than in areas of least disadvantage.

But overall, the proportion of people in these areas who were current daily smokers has fallen from 23.4 per cent to 16.1 per cent in 2021-22.

The ABS insights comes from the combined findings from the Smoker Status data and information from the National Health Survey, Survey of Income and Housing, National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, and the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

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