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Data on smoking rates is available from several sources. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) all conduct health surveys every few years that include questions about the frequency of smoking. All are rigorously and comprehensively conducted and the results are reliable.

In the 2014-15 ABS National Health Survey, the data revealed that 18.9% of adult Tasmanians are current smokers. ‘Current smokers’ includes both daily (or regular) smokers and occasional smokers. In comparison, the previous ABS Australian Health Survey from 2011-12 found the Tasmanian adult current smoking rate was 23.2%. More recently, the 2016 AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey reported that the Tasmanian daily adult smoking rate was 16.9% in 2016.

There is evidence that Tasmanian smoking rates have not decreased at the same rate as those in other jurisdictions[1]. Of all states and territories, Tasmania has the highest proportion of people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who smoke daily[2].

Tasmanian adult males generally have a higher current smoking rate than adult females – 21.8% for males and 16.8% for females in 2014-15. In comparison, the previous survey from 2011-12 found the smoking rates of Tasmanian males was 28% and females was 18.6%.

In 2014, the Tasmanian component of the Australian Secondary Students Alcohol and Drug Survey found that 6% of students aged between 12 and 17 years had smoked in the week prior to the survey. In 2014, 77% of Tasmanian 12-17-year-olds had never smoked even part of a cigarette. Although this is encouraging, it is still important that efforts are maintained to prevent the children of today from becoming the next generation of addicted adult smokers.

In 2015, 12.9% of Tasmanian women smoked during their pregnancy. This is significantly lower compared to the previous year (14.3%).  Maternal smoking continues to be most common among younger women, especially those aged under 20. Smoking among younger women of child bearing age is a major concern, not only for their own health and wellbeing, but also the impact on fertility rates and on babies and small children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.

The proportion of Tasmanian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were current daily smokers in 2014-15 was 37%, compared to 43% in 2008. This rate is consistently higher than among the overall Tasmanian population, but follows a national trend of declining rates of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


[1] AIHW, 2018 Alcohol, tobacco & Other Drugs in Australia state tobacco comparisons, viewed 15 August 2018, and available at:

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. Drug Statistics series no. 31. Cat. no. PHE 214. Canberra: AIHW, p86.

Page last reviewed: 28 August, 2018


Tobacco: Facts and Issues

Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues is a comprehensive, regularly updated, review of the major issues in smoking and health in Australia compiled by Cancer Council Victoria.  

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