States and territories

Smoking prevalence varies across Australian states and territories. Since 2001, adults in the Northern Territory have consistently had the highest level of regular smoking among adults (17% in 2019) (Greenhalgh et al. 2021). However, there have been gradual declines in age-and-sex adjusted rates of adult regular smoking across all Australian states and territories between 2001 to 2019 (Greenhalgh et al. 2021).

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 generally similar to males who had never served in the ADF across all states and territories that could be reported on. The exception to this was Western Australia, where the rate of current smoking among those who had ever served was 3 times lower than that of males who had never served (4.6% and 14%, respectively; Figure 6).
  • when comparing between states and territories, males who had ever served and lived in Western Australia (4.6%) were 4 to 5 times less likely to be current smokers than those living in the states with the highest rates of smoking (being Tasmania (16%), New South Wales (17%) and South Australia (#22%[2]). However, this pattern is different to males who had never served in the ADF, with those living in the Northern Territory having the highest smoking rate (22%).
  • All other states and territories had similar rates of current smoking; a pattern which would still be observed if all data could be published.


[2] 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 6: Current smoker status of males, by state and territory and ADF service status, 2020–21

The charts show that males in Western Australia who had ever served in the ADF were less likely to smoke than males who had never served. They were also less likely to smoke than males who had ever served but lived in Tasmania, New South Wales or South Australia.