Tobacco smoking is the single most important preventable cause of ill health and death in Australia. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, of which over 70 cause cancer.
Smoking is a leading risk factor for chronic disease and death, including many types of cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease. Exposure to tobacco smoke (second-hand smoking) also causes numerous health conditions among adults and children, and smoking (first or second hand) during pregnancy can affect the health of both mother and baby [3, 4].
Strategies to minimise the harm caused by tobacco smoking have been in place for decades. These have included advertising bans; bans on smoking indoors and increasingly in outdoor public spaces; plain packaging; price increases, restrictions on sales to minors, publication, and media campaigns [1, 2].
The National Tobacco Strategy 2012–2018, sets out a national framework to reduce tobacco-related harm in Australia. Its goal is 'to improve the health of all Australians by reducing the prevalence of smoking and its associated health, social and economic costs, and the inequalities it causes' .
Tobacco control is also a key component of the Australian Government’s 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy, which outlines the following tobacco use targets:
The National Preventive Health Strategy includes a range of policy achievements that aim to reduce tobacco use and nicotine addiction. The four overarching aims of the National Preventive Health Strategy are:
The National Tobacco Strategy, which is currently being updated, complements the actions and targets in the National Preventive Health Strategy. The National Tobacco Strategy aims to improve the health of all Australians by reducing tobacco use.
The existing National Tobacco Strategy 2012–2018 remains valid until the next iteration is finalised .
Australia has been successful in reducing smoking prevalence over many years through the use of such strategies. Fewer people are smoking daily and more people have never smoked compared with 20 years ago.
Web report |
24 Aug 2022
16 Jul 2020
Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable health burden in Australia
Over the past 50 years, levels of apparent consumption of different alcoholic beverages changed substantially
Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia
In 2019, 11.0% of Australians smoked tobacco daily, down from 12.2% in 2016 and 24% in 1991.
Between 2016 and 2019, the proportion of people who had ever used e-cigarettes rose from 8.8% to 11.3%.
Between 2016 and 2019, the proportion of ex-drinkers rose from 7.6% to 8.9%.
More reports and statistics on tobacco smoking can be found under Alcohol, Alcohol & other drug treatment services and Illicit use of drugs.
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.
The browser you are using to browse this website is outdated and some features may not display properly or be accessible to you. Please use a more recent browser for the best user experience.