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Note: The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016 key findings report (1 June 2017) may show preliminary figures different to those used in this section.


of people aged 14 and older smoked daily in 2013. This is down from 15.1% in 2010.

15.9 years

was the average age at which 14–24 year-olds smoked their first full cigarette in 2013, compared with 14.2 years in 2010.

Stacked bar chart compares treatment episodes: alcohol (38%), cannabis (24%), amphetamines (20%), heroin (6%), pharma (6%), tobacco (2%), other (4%).

40,000 treatment episodes

provided by specialist alcohol and other drug agencies in 2015–16 involved nicotine as a drug of concern. But it was the main drug leading clients to treatment in only 2% of episodes.

Number 1

The risk factor causing the most burden of disease in 2011 was tobacco use (9% of all burden of disease and injury). High body mass (obesity, 5.5%) and Alcohol use (5.1%) were risk factor numbers 2 and 3.


of women who gave birth smoked during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy in 2013, down from 12.9% in 2011.

Less than 1 in 25

or (3.7%) of adults in households with children reported smoking inside the home in 2013. This has steadily declined from 31% in 1995.


of adult ever-smokers in 2013 had quit smoking. This is up from 47% in 2010.

Favourable progress

has been made against a number of tobacco smoking indicators.

About smoking

Tobacco smoking is the single most important preventable cause of ill health and death in Australia (see Risk factors). 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 [4, 5].

In 2011, tobacco use was responsible for 9% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia [1]. It was estimated that 80% of lung cancer burden and 75% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease burden was attributable to tobacco use [1].

In 2004–05, about 15,000 deaths per year were attributable to smoking [2].

Strategies to minimise the harm caused by tobacco smoking have been in place for decades and continue with the National Tobacco Strategy (NTS) 2012–2018, which sets out a national framework to reduce tobacco-related harm in Australia, with the goal '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' [3].

Find out more about the National Tobacco Strategy.

Tobacco smoking data sources

National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS)

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services (AODTS)

Access tobacco smoking data


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2011. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 3. Cat. no. BOD 4. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Collins D & Lapsley H 2008. The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian society in 2004–05. National Drug Strategy Monograph Series no. 66. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing.
  3. Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs (IGCD) 2013. National Tobacco Strategy 2012–2018. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
  4. State Government of Victoria (SGV) 2014. Pregnancy and smoking. Viewed 15 May 2015.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) 2014. The health consequences of smoking—50 years of progress: a report of the Surgeon General (PDF). Atlanta: USDHHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. Viewed 10 May 2016.