HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW

Smoking in adults

Aboriginal, 2016-2017
29Aboriginal, 2015-2016
33.3Aboriginal, 2014-2015
31.6Aboriginal, 2013-2014
33.9Aboriginal, 2012-2013
30.5Aboriginal, 2011-2012
25.4Aboriginal, 2010-2011
22.4Aboriginal, 2009-2010
26.4Aboriginal, 2008-2009
34.8Aboriginal, 2007-2008
33.1Aboriginal, 2006-2007
27.3Aboriginal, 2005-2006
32.1Aboriginal, 2004-2005
36.1Aboriginal, 2003-2004
35.8Aboriginal, 2002-2003
33.4Non-Aboriginal, 2016-2017
10.5Non-Aboriginal, 2015-2016
10.3Non-Aboriginal, 2014-2015
10.4Non-Aboriginal, 2013-2014
11Non-Aboriginal, 2012-2013
11.7Non-Aboriginal, 2011-2012
11.5Non-Aboriginal, 2010-2011
11.7Non-Aboriginal, 2009-2010
13.2Non-Aboriginal, 2008-2009
13.9Non-Aboriginal, 2007-2008
14.5Non-Aboriginal, 2006-2007
14.6Non-Aboriginal, 2005-2006
15.3Non-Aboriginal, 2004-2005
16.7Non-Aboriginal, 2003-2004
17.5Non-Aboriginal, 2002-2003
17.4Total, 2016-2017
11.1Total, 2015-2016
10.9Total, 2014-2015
11Total, 2013-2014
11.8Total, 2012-2013
12.3Total, 2011-2012
11.8Total, 2010-2011
11.9Total, 2009-2010
13.5Total, 2008-2009
14.4Total, 2007-2008
14.9Total, 2006-2007
14.8Total, 2005-2006
15.6Total, 2004-2005
17.1Total, 2003-2004
17.9Total, 2002-2003
  • + Source

    NSW Population Health Survey (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes

    The indicator shows self-reported data collected through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). Estimates were weighted to adjust for differences in the probability of selection among respondents and were benchmarked to the estimated residential population using the latest available Australian Bureau of Statistics mid-year population estimates. Adults are defined as persons aged 16 years and over in the NSW Population Health Survey.

    In order to address diminishing coverage of the population by landline telephone numbers (<85% since 2010), a mobile phone number sampling frame was introduced into the 2012 survey. The inclusion of mobile phone numbers has substantially increased the Aboriginal sample and this change in design means that the 2012 NSWPHS estimates reflect both changes that have occurred in the population over time and changes due to the improved design of the survey. LL/UL 95%CI = lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence interval for the point estimate.

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    • Key points: Smoking

      Latest available information

      Data from the NSW Population Health Survey is used to measure the NSW State Government targets on reducing smoking in the population and is comparable with other sources of information on smoking in NSW.

      • 10.3% of adults aged 16 years and over (12.7% of men and 8.0% of women) smoked daily in NSW in 2018 and 14.8% (18.2% of men and 11.4% of women) were current (daily or occasional) smokers. Estimates were produced from the NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self-reported using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI).

      • 14.8% of persons aged 15 years and over (18.3% of males and 11.5% of females) in NSW were current smokers (defined as daily, at least once a week or less than weekly), as estimated from the 2017-18 National Health Survey (interviewer-administered questionnaire).

      • 8.8% of mothers smoked during pregnancy in 2017, as reported to the NSW Perinatal Data Collection.

      Latest available data for secondary school students in NSW

      • 6.4% of students aged 12-17 years (7.0% of boys and 5.7% of girls) were current smokers, as estimated from the 2017 NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey (self-completed questionnaire).

      Latest available data for adult Aboriginal persons in NSW

      • 22.7% of Aboriginal adults aged 16 years and over smoked daily in NSW in 2017-2018 and 28.2% were current (daily or occasional) smokers. Estimates were produced from the NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self-reported using CATI).

      • 42.4% of Aboriginal mothers smoked during pregnancy in 2017, as reported to the NSW Perinatal Data Collection.

      Overall trends in NSW

      Self-reported data on current smoking have been collected for adults in NSW since 1997 through the NSW Population Health Survey, since 1977-78 through the National Health Survey (from 1995), since 1985 through the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, and since 2011 through the Australian Health Survey.

      Self-reported data on current smoking have been collected for students in NSW since 1984 through the NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey.

      Prevalence estimates, although differing slightly between surveys because of different sampling frames, participation rates and modes of collection (telephone, self-completed questionnaires, face-to-face personal interview and drop-and-collect) have all been decreasing over time.

      Hospitalisations attributable to smoking

      A total of 60,249 hospitalisations were attributed to smoking in NSW in 2017-18, which was approximately 2.0% of all hospitalisations.

      The rate of hospitalisations attributable to smoking decreased in males by nearly 23%, compared to a 10% decrease among females in NSW between 2001-02 and 2017-18. Rates have stabilised in recent years.

      The rate of hospitalisations attributable to smoking increased in both Aboriginal males and Aboriginal females in the period between 2001-02 and 2011-12. In recent years, the rates have remained stable.

      Deaths attributable to smoking

      A total of 6,631 deaths were attributed to smoking in NSW in 2017, which was 12.6% of all deaths in 2017. In 2017, the rate of deaths attributable to smoking in males and females was 86.7 and 50.0 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively.


      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Available at:

      Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey. Available at:

    • Introduction: Smoking

      Smoking and health implications

      Tobacco smoking is one of the biggest causes of premature death and is a leading preventable cause of chronic disease in New South Wales. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a range of cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease and a variety of other diseases and conditions. Approximately one in five of all cancer deaths are due to tobacco smoking.

      There is a no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. In adults, breathing second-hand smoke can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other lung diseases. It can worsen the effects of existing illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis. For children, inhaling second-hand smoke is even more dangerous. Children are more likely to suffer health problems due to second-hand smoke such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.


      Australia has one of the most comprehensive tobacco control policies and programs in the world. The aim of the tobacco control programs in NSW is to contribute to a continuing reduction of smoking prevalence rates in the community.

      Information on NSW Health tobacco and smoking control programs and policies is available at:

      Useful websites:

      Cancer Institute at:

      I Can Quit at

      Quitline at

    • Interventions in NSW: Smoking

      Information on NSW Health programs and policies is available at

    • For more information: Smoking

      Useful websites include:

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at

      I Can Quit at

      Quitline at

Last Updated At: Monday, 8 July 2019