Population characteristics

Data considerations

Data from Smoker Status, Australia 2020–21 presented on this page have been tested for significance at the 5% level using confidence intervals of the differences between two proportions, and comprehensive tables are available in Smoking among Australia’s veterans 2020–21: supplementary data tables – Table S1. For more information on the methodology used, see Technical notes.

While comparisons can be inferred from the information provided on this page, some differences between persons who have and have not served in the ADF are likely to be confounded by the older age structure of the ADF population. For more information, see Differences in age structures among ADF service status populations.

The unique nature of ADF service can enhance a person’s health and wellbeing; a phenomenon known as the 'healthy soldier effect'. Military personnel are generally physically and mentally fit, receive regular medical assessments, and have access to comprehensive medical and dental treatment as a condition of service. However, ADF service increases the likelihood of exposure to trauma (either directly or indirectly) and affects support networks, for example, separation from family during deployment (Daraganova et al. 2018; Lawrence-Wood et al. 2019). For more information, see Who is a Veteran?.

The Smoker Status, Australia 2020–21 data set does not include information relating to service characteristics, and does not differentiate between current serving, reservists, or ex-serving members. These factors may be important to understanding smoking among Australia's veterans, and should be considered when reading the findings on this page.

On this page, data are only presented for males due to female population sizes being too small to report.

This page explores subpopulations of veterans that may be at higher risk of smoking based on personal characteristics such as their composition of household, level of education qualifications, employment status and self-assessed health status.

In 2020–21, the population characteristics of males aged 18 years and over who had ever served in the ADF and were more likely to be current smokers in 2020–21 were:

  • those who lived in lone person/group households were more likely to be current smokers than those living in family households with and without dependent children (22% compared with 8.6% and 11%, respectively). This was similar to males who had never served (22% compared with 11% and 14% respectively).
  • those whose highest level of education was year 12 or below were nearly twice as likely to smoke than those who had completed a bachelor degree or higher (15% and 7.4%, respectively). Among males who had never served, those whose highest level of education was year 12 or below were over 3 times as likely to smoke as those who had completed a bachelor degree or higher (19% and 6.0%, respectively).

Rates of smoking among males who had ever served in the ADF did not appear to be associated with whether they were employed, or how they rated their health. This was different to males who had never served, where rates of current smoking varied based on labour force status and self-assessed health. For more information, refer to Table S2 - Smoking among Australia's veterans 2020–21 - supplementary data tables.