Smoking prevalence and consumption in Victoria: Key findings from the 1998–2012 population surveys

By Emily Bain, Sarah Durkin, Melanie Wakefield

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 45


Significant declines in the prevalence of regular smoking have been observed among Victorian adults, with the 2012 Smoking and Health Survey recording the lowest proportion of regular and daily smokers and the highest proportion of never and nonsmokers since 1998. Significant reductions in the average number of cigarettes smoked each day by both daily and regular smokers and a significant decline in the proportion of heavy smokers have also been observed over the 15 year period.

In 2012, males were more likely to be regular smokers than females, and older Victorians were less likely to be regular smokers than younger Victorians. Victorians with a tertiary or higher education background were less likely to be regular smokers compared to those who had a Year 12 or less education. Regular smoking rates were also lower among Victorians living in high socioeconomic areas compared to those in mid and low socioeconomic areas.

Since 1998, there has been a significant decline in the prevalence of regular smoking in each of the demographic subgroups studied. An accelerated rate of decline in smoking prevalence was found among young adults aged 18 to 29 years, and among those living in the most disadvantaged areas in Victoria during 2005-2012, compared with the period 1998-2004. Tobacco control activity occurring over the recent time period appears to have contributed to these declines.