Remoteness areas

Although tobacco use has declined across all remoteness areas of Australia since 2010, smoking remains more common in regional areas than in major cities (AIHW 2020).

How did we define remoteness areas in this report?

This report used the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure, 2016, which defines remoteness areas in 5 classes of relative remoteness across Australia:

  • Major cities
  • Inner regional
  • Outer regional
  • Remote
  • Very remote.

These remoteness areas are centred on the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), which is based on the road distances people have to travel for services (ABS 2018b).

Due to small numbers of ADF members living in Outer regional and Remote Australia, data for these groups have been combined into a single group for this report, referred to as 'Outer reginal and remote areas'.

People living in very remote areas of Australia were excluded from the Smoker Status, Australia 2020–21 data set, and so have not been included in this report.

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 among males who had never served in the ADF, regardless of remoteness area (Figure 8).
  • when comparing between remoteness areas, rates of smoking were similar between major cities, inner regional areas, and outer regional and remote areas (11%, #17%[1] and 16%, respectively). Among those who had never served however, rates of current smoking increased as level of remoteness increased, with those living in outer regional and remote areas of Australia having higher rates of smoking (21% compared with 16% among those living in inner regional areas, and 13% among those living in major cities).

[1] Proportions marked with a hash (#) have a high MoE and should be interpreted with caution. A high MoE is considered as greater than 10%.

Figure 8: Current smoker status of males, by remoteness area and ADF service status, 2020–21

The bar chart shows that rates of smoking for males were similar between ADF service statuses, regardless of remoteness area.