Taking Preventative Action
3.4 Continuing Impact of Tobacco Smoking
The adverse health impacts of tobacco smoking are well known: smoking significantly raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancers of the respiratory, digestive and reproductive organs, and premature births. Despite this, approximately three million Australian adults smoke daily.
While the prevalence of smoking in Australia has gradually declined over a long period (as shown in Figure 2), smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable disease and premature mortality among Australians:
- smoking is responsible for over seven per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia;
- tobacco use caused more than 15,000 deaths in 2003; and
- the total quantifiable costs of smoking to the economy, including the costs associated with loss of life were estimated to be greater than $31 billion in 2004–05.
Figure 2: Daily smokers , population aged 14 years and over , 1985–2007
Source: AIHW, 2008
Almost half of Indigenous Australians smoke daily, compared with one in six of all adult Australians. Smoking is currently the cause of 20 per cent of deaths among Indigenous Australians. Figure 3 shows a comparison of smoking rates across a number of population groups.
Figure 3: Smoking rates in Australia for selected population groups
Source: Public Health Information Development Unit, 2010, various data sources all from late-2000’s.
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