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  » Smoking and health effect  »  Smoking Statistics: Australia
Socio-demographic characteristics
Population 1990 1995 2025
Total 16,888,000 18,088,000 24,667,000
Adult (15+) 13,188,000 14,190,000 19,888,000
% Urban 85.1 84.7 88.6
% Rural 14.9 15.3 11.4

Health Status

Life expectancy at birth, 1990-95 : 74.7 (males), 80.6 (females)
Infant mortality rate in 1990-95 : 7 per 1,000 livebirths

Age-standardized annual death rate per 100,000 (early 1990s)
  Ischaemic heart disease Cerebrovascular disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Lung cancer All cancers All causes
Males 234.0 69.4 56.1 61.1 234.1 888.5
Females 126.2 63.9 22.5 19.2 148.2 542.8

Socio-Economic Situation

GNP per capita (US$), 1991 : 17,120, Real GDP per capita (PPP$), 1991 : 16,680
Average distribution of labour force by sector, 1990 - 92 : Agriculture 6%; Industry 24%; Services 70%

Tobacco production, trade and industry

Agriculture In 1993, 4,519 hectares were harvested for tobacco down from 5,422 in 1985. Less than 0.01% of all arable land is used for growing tobacco.

Production and Trade In 1994, Australia produced around 8,100 tonnes of unmanufactured tobacco (about 0.1% of the world total) and imported around 13,000 tonnes of unmanufactured tobacco. Australia's cigarette production peaked in 1990 at around 36,000 million pieces. Since then, cigarette production declined to 32,500 million pieces in 1994, accounting for about 0.6% of world production. In 1994, Australia imported 750 million cigarettes and exported 711 million cigarettes, the latter being almost 0.1% of all global exports. In 1993, spent US$71.7 million on imports of tobacco products and leaf tobacco (0.1% of total import costs). In the same year, US$17.7 million was earned on tobacco exports (0.03% of total export earnings).

Industry In 1993, approximately 4,600 people were engaged full time in the tobacco manufacturing industry. This is about 0.05% of the labour force.

Tobacco consumption

Almost all tobacco consumed in Australia is in the form of manufactured cigarettes. Roll-your-own cigarettes were estimated to be about 10% of manufactured cigarette consumption in the early 1970's, but since then this form of tobacco use has declined further. Per capita consumption of tobacco used in cigarettes (by weight) peaked around 1975 at approximately 2,800 grammes per person 15 years and over, but by 1993, this amount had fallen to around 1,600 grams. In 1993, the average daily consumption of cigarettes among smokers was 18 for both males and females.

Consumption of Cigarettes (incl. RYO's)
  Annual average per adult 15+)
1970-72 3,410
1980-82 3,440
1990-92 2,710

Tar/Nicotine/Filters In 1990, tar levels of cigarettes ranged from 0.4 mg to 14.0 mg, and nicotine levels from 0.10 mg to 1.30 mg. Almost all (96%) of cigarettes sold are filter-tipped.


% cigarette smokers among adults
  1970-72 1980-82 1990-92
Male 41.0 40.0 30.0
Female 29.0 31.0 >27.0

Overall prevalence has declined dramatically since the early 1980's. Data for 1993 indicate that 29% of males and 21% of females (aged 14 and over) smoke regularly and 4% of males and 5% of females smoke occasionally. This contrasts with 1964, when almost 60% of males and 28% of females smoked.

Tobacco use among population sub-groups Data for 1993 indicate that smoking is lowest in professional/managerial workers (28% M; 25% F), rising to 40% (M) and 38%(F) in clerical and sales workers, and is highest among labourers (46% M; 44% F). Data indicate that in 1992, less than 8% of doctors (general practitioners) in Australia smoked.

Age Patterns According to a 1993 survey, the highest prevalence for both sexes occurs at ages 20-29 years, with 36% of males and females smoking regularly. Between 1980 and 1989, male prevalence at ages 20-24 declined from 56% to 41%, whereas female prevalence has changed slightly, from 40% to 38%. The 1993 data also indicate that 16% of males and females aged 14-19 smoke regularly.

Mortality from Tobacco Use

Between 1950 and 2000, it is estimated that tobacco will kill 675,000 Australians, or 13% of all deaths since 1950. The annual number of tobacco-attributable deaths among men is estimated to have peaked in 1985 at around 15,000 deaths but is still rising rapidly for women. During the 1990's, tobacco is projected to cause 13,000 male deaths each year, and just over 5,000 female deaths annually. 25% of all deaths among men in middle age (35-69) are due to tobacco, as are 15% of female deaths in this age group. 15% of all deaths in Australia in 1992 were due to tobacco use, with cancer and ischaemic heart disease accounting for 45% and 31% respectively, of those deaths. Lung cancer rates for men peaked around 1980 and are declining rapidly. Conversely, lung cancer mortality is rising rapidly among women.

Tobacco Control Measures

Control on Tobacco Products Since 1993, a national ban on tobacco advertising has been in effect. Beginning in 1996, most sports sponsorships by tobacco companies were banned. Since 1994, six rotating warnings (Smoking is addictive; Smoking kills; Smoking causes heart disease; Smoking when pregnant harms your baby; Your smoking can harm others; Smoking causes lung cancer) are required on Australia cigarette packs. The warnings cover 25% of the front of the pack. Further health information covers one-third of the back and toxic substance information is on one side.

Most states ban the sale of cigarettes to those under eighteen, as well as prohibiting the sale of cigarettes in packs of less than 20. Chewing tobacco and oral snuff is banned in all states. Cigarette taxes in April 1995 were about 65% of the retail price. Increases in state and federal taxes have occurred since then. Som e states operate Health Promotion Foundations that use part of state tobacco taxes to finance various health promotion and community development projects. Victoria was the first state to establish such a foundation, in 1987.

Protection for non-smokers Smoking was banned in all workplaces of the federal government in 1988. Since then, protection from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke has become widespread in both the public and private sectors. Successful legal actions by non-smoking employees and Australian smoking control advocacy groups have spurred employers to provide protection from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. Smoking is banned in many public places and transit vehicles. All domestic flights and the domestic leg of Australian international flights are currently smoke-free, and a proposal has been made to have all Australian international flights completely smoke-free by July 1996.

Health education In August 1994, AU$ 3.1 million (approximately US$ 2.3 million) was allocated by the Commonwealth to develop and implement a Tobacco and Health Campaign targeted at young people. The campaign consists of two components:support activities for the new strengthened health warnings; and a multimedia campaign targeting youth. In the 1995/96 budget, the "Health Australia-Tobacco Harm Minimisation Program was allocated AU$ 18.3 million (approximately US$ 13.6 million) over three years (with the majority of the funds directed to tobacco harm minimisation activities including additional community education activities). Also, generous funding from tobacco tax-supported state Health Promotion Foundations means that Australia has some of the world's best smoking and health promotion and education programmes. The Victoria Health Promotion Foundation, for example, has a budget amounting to about AU$6.00 (approximately US$4.50) per capita.