Smoking rates in Victoria have dropped by more than a quarter since 1998,
according to new research that shows only 15.3% of Victorians are regular
smokers, compared to 21.2% in 1998.
The research released today, from the Cancer Council Victoria, also reveals
more than half of Victorians had never smoked which is the highest proportion
of never smokers recorded since the survey began.
According to the research:
- Regular smoking has declined at a similar rate for both males and females,
though males were more likely than females to be regular smokers in 2010
(17.9%, males; 12.8%, females).
- There has been a significant decline in the proportion of younger Victorians
(age 18 to 29 years) who are regular smokers, especially since 2005.
- Professor Melanie Wakefield, from Cancer Council Victoria, said the survey had
revealed some interesting differences in the rates of smoking decline amongst
different socio-economic groups.
"Socio-economic disparities in smoking behaviours have been a major
concern for policy makers and practitioners over the previous decade, with
consistently higher levels of smoking in the most disadvantaged groups."
"Between 1998 and 2004, the rate of regular smoking was declining most
rapidly among the higher SES Victorians. However between 2005 and 2010, this
had reversed and the decrease in regular smoking rates was fastest among the
lowest SES group."
Professor Wakefield said this evidence of a ‘narrowing of the gap' in
smoking status between low and high SES Victorians could be due to tobacco
control initiatives with a particular emphasis on reducing smoking among low
"During the late 2000s we have seen an escalation in tobacco control
efforts, including increases to tobacco taxation and increased funding for
social marketing campaigns - both particularly effective ways of targeting this
CEO of the Cancer Council Victoria, Mr Todd Harper, cautioned against
interpreting the drop in smoking rates as a sign tobacco was 'a problem
solved' in Victoria.
"There is a still long way to go before smoking
is no longer a major health problem. Nearly 4,000 Victorians die every year as a
result of smoking so tobacco must remain a public health priority."