Fewer Australians are smoking and less are taking it up a new report has shown.
A report compiled by researchers from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows positive progress has been made in reducing smoking rates.
Overall, improvements have been seen across most areas with less than 15 per cent of adults smoking daily and the number of secondary school students taking up smoking has decreased by 4 per cent from 23.3 per cent to 19.1 per cent.
“Since the baseline report, we’ve seen improvements when it comes to people taking up smoking, with fewer secondary school students and adults trying cigarettes-and those who do, are taking up tobacco smoking at older ages than in the past,” said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.
The report measures tobacco usage by looking at a range of smoking phases such as exposure to second-hand smoke, the age people take up smoking, daily smoking habits and quitting.
The number of people being exposed to tobacco smoke, especially children at home is also falling.
Occurrences of indigenous children being exposed to smoke has fallen 5 per cent to 16.1 per cent and rates in households where English is the main language fell from 6.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent.
AIHW spokesperson, Tim Beard, says that the exact cause of the improvements in smoking rates is uncertain but raising prices, laws restricting where people may smoke and plain packaging most likely contributed.
While improvements are seen among most demographics there is still a disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples smoking rates.
“…despite the fact that Indigenous smoking rates are improving, they are not improving at the same rate as non-Indigenous Australians, so the gap is widening across a number of indicators.”
Additionally, people living in remote or regional areas and the disadvantaged also fall behind in comparison to those living in major cities and higher socioeconomic areas.
In the past and currently smoking has been Australia’s largest preventable cause of death.
Smoking costs Australia approximately $35.1 billion each year in social, health and economic costs.