World No Tobacco Day – How much do we smoke?
Having recently moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, one of the things that has stood out is the difference in smoking laws. And with the 31st of May being World No Tobacco Day, I thought it would be interesting to see if there were different smoking rates in Victoria and South Australia as a result of these laws.
In Adelaide, there are very few public areas where you can smoke. Smoking is banned in outdoor dining and drinking areas, all bus, train and tram stops, playgrounds and even Rundle Mall. The majority of university campuses are also smoke free or at least have restricted smoking. There is a particular emphasis on protecting children from second hand smoke, with anyone caught smoking in a car while a child is present can be fined a maximum of $200. Here in Melbourne, things seem to be a little different. You can smoke in the outdoor areas of cafes and bars, and its fine to smoke in outdoor shopping and other public areas. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, just different, and I have wondered if this results in different smoking rates.
In Australia, according to the 2011-12 Health Survey undertaken by the ABS, 18.1% of people over 18 smoke, and 31% are ex-smokers. Also, 6.6% of teenagers aged 15-17 reported smoking. The rates are highest for those aged 25-34, and the male rate is higher across all age groups. Now to look at SA and Victoria to test my hypothesis. South Australia has an over 18s smoking rate of 18.5% and Victoria’s rate is 18.7%. So not vastly different, as I did somewhat expect. Yet perhaps it will take some time for the smoking reforms in SA to be reflected in the smoking rate, as many of them are quite recent. I do not want people to take these statistics the wrong way and feel that I’m implying that such measures don’t work. That is far from the truth, such policies are beneficial at keeping second hand smoke away from those that don’t want it.
And just to finish up (because I myself am curious) here is a table with the over 18 and 15-17 years smoking rates for each state in Australia. Very surprised to see Northern Territory with the highest rate of smoking!
|18 years and over||15 to 17 years|
|New South Wales||16.4%||4.9%|
|Australian Capital Territory||15%||N/A|
To access demographic information for communities across Australia, please visit our demographic resource centre.