Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage
In Australia, disadvantaged socio-economic groups are at greater risk of being regular smokers, with tobacco use compounding existing social inequalities and poverty (Purcell 2015).
How did we measure socio-economic status in this report?
In this report, Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD) scores have been used to measure the socio-economic status of ADF members. This is a general socio-economic index that summarises a range of information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area.
Low scores may indicate that an individual lives in an area where there are many households with low income, many people with no education qualifications, or many people working in low skill occupations (ABS 2018a).
The IRSD has been divided into quintiles, where quintile 1 contains the lowest 20% of scores (the most disadvantaged areas) and quintile 5 contains the highest 20% of scores (the least disadvantaged areas).
Analysis of the ABS Smoker Status, Australia 2020–21 data set indicated that in 2020–21, for males aged 18 years and over who had ever served in the ADF:
- rates of current smoking were similar to those who had never served, regardless of the level of socio-economic disadvantage (Figure 7).
- rates of current smoking typically decreased as socio-economic disadvantage decreased, with those living in the most disadvantaged areas of Australia (quintile 1) being over 3 times more likely to be current smokers than those living in the second-least disadvantaged areas of Australia (20% compared with 6.3% for quintile 4, respectively).
- the pattern was different to males who had never served, where those living in the most disadvantaged areas of Australia (quintile 1) were over twice as likely to be current smokers as those living in the least disadvantaged areas of Australia (21% compared with 10% for quintile 4 and 8.8% for quintile 5, respectively).
Figure 7: Current smoker status of males, by Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage and ADF service status, 2020–21
The bar chart shows that smoking rates for males were similar between ADF service statuses, regardless of SEIFA quintile.