HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW

Smoking in pregnancy

Aboriginal, Major cities, 2018
38.9Aboriginal, Major cities, 2017
35.7Aboriginal, Major cities, 2016
37.2Aboriginal, Major cities, 2015
41.2Aboriginal, Major cities, 2014
40.9Aboriginal, Major cities, 2013
42.4Aboriginal, Major cities, 2012
45.2Aboriginal, Major cities, 2011
46.6Aboriginal, Major cities, 2010
44.8Aboriginal, Major cities, 2009
46.5Aboriginal, Major cities, 2008
47Aboriginal, Major cities, 2007
43.4Aboriginal, Major cities, 2006
48Aboriginal, Major cities, 2005
50.6Aboriginal, Major cities, 2004
51.2Aboriginal, Major cities, 2003
53.8Aboriginal, Major cities, 2002
54.6Aboriginal, Major cities, 2001
55.5Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2018
46.6Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2017
47.4Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2016
44.2Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2015
47.7Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2014
48.5Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2013
49.6Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2012
53Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2011
55.8Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2010
49.8Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2009
53.1Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2008
52.3Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2007
54.5Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2006
56.9Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2005
57.6Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2004
59.5Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2003
58.4Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2002
59.6Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2001
60.8Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2018
6Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2017
5.7Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2016
5.4Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2015
5.9Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2014
6.1Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2013
6.6Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2012
7.2Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2011
7.9Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2010
8.3Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2009
8.9Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2008
9.3Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2007
9.1Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2006
9.7Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2005
10.4Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2004
11Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2003
11.5Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2002
12.8Non-Aboriginal, Major cities, 2001
13.2Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2018
12.5Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2017
12.9Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2016
12.3Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2015
13.1Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2014
14.5Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2013
15Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2012
15.9Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2011
16.7Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2010
16.3Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2009
17.7Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2008
19.3Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2007
20.4Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2006
21.5Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2005
22.7Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2004
22.8Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2003
23.1Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2002
23.7Non-Aboriginal, Rest of NSW, 2001
  • + Source

    NSW Perinatal Data Collection (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes

    Two questions are asked about smoking behaviour in the NSW Perinatal Data Collection:
        - Did the mother smoke at all during the first half of pregnancy?
        - Did the mother smoke at all during the second half of pregnancy?

    Smoking in pregnancy was defined as smoking in either the first or second half of pregnancy.

    Data include all mothers who gave birth (stillbirth or live birth) in a NSW facility (or a home) regardless of place of permanent residence.

    The number of ‘not stated’ cases varied by geographic area and year. This may reduce the reliability of the estimates in the instances where ‘not stated’ cases are a large proportion.

    As Aboriginal mothers are under-reported on the Perinatal Data Collection, it is likely that the true numbers of Aboriginal mothers are substantially higher than shown. Refer to the Methods tab for more information.

    Statistical Areas are grouped according to Australian Statistical Geographic Standard (ASGS) remoteness categories on the basis of Accessibility/Remoteness Index for Australia (ARIA version) score.

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  • + Methods
  • + Codes
    • Codes: NSW Perinatal Data Collection

      The current data collection form for the NSW Perinatal Data Collection (PDC) commenced in 2016. Codes are described in the NSW Perinatal Data Collection Manual - 2016 Edition, which is available on the internet at

  • + Related Indicators
  • + Associated Information
    • Key points: Pregnancy and the newborn period

      Recent trends

      In 2019 there were 95,133 births to 93,758 mothers in NSW, a decrease of 1.3% from 96,391 births in 2015.  The percentage of multiple (twin and triplet) pregnancies has remained fairly stable over recent years at about 1.4%. 

      Between 2015 and 2019:

      • The proportion of mothers who were teenagers continued to fall, from 2.5% to 1.7%.

      • The proportion of births to mothers over 35 years of age has increased slightly from 23.4% to 25.9%.

      • The rate of low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams) has remained stable, ranging from 6.4% to 6.8%.

      • The perinatal mortality rate was 8.0 per 1,000 births in 2019,  decreased from 8.2 per 1,000 births in 2015.

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies

      Between 2015 and 2019:

      • The number of reported births to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers increased from 3,872 to 4,479, representing 4.0% and 4.7% respectively of all babies born in NSW.

      • The percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who were teenagers fell substantially from 15.4% to 10.5%.

      • The perinatal mortality rate of 10.3 per 1,000 births in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers in 2019 is higher than the rate of 7.9 per 1,000 births experienced among babies born to non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers.

      The percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who commenced antenatal care before 14 weeks increased from 55.6% to 75.3%.

    • Introduction: Pregnancy and the newborn period


      The health of Australian mothers and babies is generally good by world standards. Maternal deaths are rare, and perinatal mortality rates are low.

      The average woman in NSW can currently expect to give birth to 1.9 babies in her lifetime.

      NSW mothers are getting older with the mean maternal age at first birth around 29 years and at subsequent birth just over 30. The proportion of teenage mothers is declining.

      Burden of disease and social and economic disadvantage 

      Aboriginal mothers and babies, those from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and some overseas-born mothers and their babies continue to experience worse outcomes than other NSW mothers and babies.

    • Interventions: Pregnancy and the newborn period

      The NSW Ministry of Health maintains two population-based surveillance systems that collect information concerning pregnancy and birth: the NSW Perinatal Data Collection and the NSW Register of Congenital Conditions. They assist in monitoring the health of mothers and babies, and maternity service planning in NSW.

      The implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Strategy has improved access to culturally appropriate maternity services for Aboriginal mothers.

      The NSW Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Review Committee reviews each death of a mother or newborn baby to assess the cause and identify any possible avoidable factors. This information is used to improve services for mothers and babies.

    • For more information: Pregnancy and the newborn period

      Useful websites

      NSW Ministry of Health at, in particular see the annual New South Wales Mothers and Babies report, published by the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. The latest edition is available at

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at, in particular see Births (ABS Cat no 3301.0)

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at in general and in particular the AIHW's National Perinatal Statistics Unit and the annual publication: Australia’s mothers and babies.

      healthdirect at

      Population and Public Health Division. Improved reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on population datasets in New South Wales using record linkage–a feasibility study. Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2012. Available at:

      Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. Obstetrics Indicator User Manual. Sydney: ACHS. Available at:

    • 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.

      • 11.2% of adults aged 16 years and over (12.1% of men and 10.2% of women) smoked daily in NSW in 2019 and 15.5% (18.0% of men and 13.1% 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).

      • 13.9% of NSW adults aged 18 years and over (17.0% of males and 10.9% of females) were daily smokers, as estimated from the 2017-18 National Health Survey (interviewer-administered questionnaire).

      • 8.8% of mothers smoked during pregnancy in 2019, 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

      • 26.4% of Aboriginal adults aged 16 years and over smoked daily in NSW in 2018-2019 and 31.5% were current (daily or occasional) smokers. Estimates were produced from the NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self-reported using CATI).

      • 43.2% of Aboriginal mothers smoked during pregnancy in 2019, 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 62,930 hospitalisations were attributed to smoking in NSW in 2018-19, which was approximately 2.0% of all hospitalisations.

      The rate of hospitalisations attributable to smoking decreased in males by nearly 36%, compared to a 15% decrease among females in NSW between 2001-02 and 2018-19. Rates have stabilised in recent years.

      The rate of hospitalisations attributable to smoking increased in both Aboriginal males and Aboriginal females by 32% aand 24% respectively in the period between 2009-10 and 2018-19. 

      Deaths attributable to smoking

      A total of 6,702 deaths were attributed to smoking in NSW in 2018, which was 12.5% of all deaths in 2018. In 2018, the rate of deaths attributable to smoking in males and females was 84.2 and 50.3 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively.


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

      Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18. 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: Tuesday, 8 September 2020