gsthr logo
Quick links to detailed datasheets for Australia at

Smoking in Australia

In 2017-18, just under one in seven (13.8%) or 2.6 million adults were daily smokers, whilst a further 1.4% of people also reported smoking on a less than daily basis. Since 1995, the proportion of adults who are daily smokers has decreased from 23.8% to 13.8% in 2017-18. Over recent years however, the daily smoking rate has remained fairly constant (14.5% in 2014-15). Despite this, the proportion of adults who have never smoked has increased from 49.4% in 2007-08 to 52.6% in 2014-15 and 55.7% in 2017-18. In 2017-18, young adults aged 18-24 years were more likely to have never smoked than any other age group, with 69.6% of men and 81.5% of women in this age group reporting that they had never smoked. These proportions have increased from 64.0% and 64.9% respectively since 2007-08. The national Health Survey was conducted in all states and territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia in 2017/18. The survey included around 21,000 people in over 16,000 private dwellings. Previous surveys have been conducted since 1989/90.

Read articles from Australia

February 23, 2024 by

A new low in anti-vape scaremongering

A Tasmania anti-smoking activist, Kathryn Barnsley, displayed a misleading anti-vaping banner, wrongly attributing oral cancer risks to vaping. The claim is based on a single case study of a young man with tongue cancer, with no evidence from scientific literature supporting a link to vaping. The banner displayed misinformation, amplifying scaremongering tactics. Such misleading information spreads easily and could hinder the understanding of the harm reduction potential of vaping.

February 20, 2024 by

Rishi Sunak urged to U-turn on UK vape ban over black market fears

Rishi Sunak's proposal for a single-use vape ban to curb youth vaping has drawn criticism due to the ineffectiveness of similar measures in Australia. The Australian black market for vapes has boomed despite bans, leading to safety concerns. Theo Foukkare highlights the failure of prohibition and advocates for regulated sales to adults. In response, Sunak emphasizes the need to protect children from addiction and health risks. Labour's consideration of a prescription-only policy for vapes, based on Australia's approach, raises concerns about straining the NHS with additional consultations.

February 19, 2024 by

The Advocates Voice 2024 Australia and the United Kingdom

In this episode we explore the situation in Australia and the evolving situation in the United Kingdom. Draconian "regulations" or De Facto Ban? Language Warning. We let you hear from the people directly impacted.

February 19, 2024 by

Health minister accuses vaping lobby of targeting children after industry ad campaign against ban

A vaping lobby group funded by tobacco companies is running ads in Australian newspapers opposing vaping reforms. The campaign, Bust the Black Market, aims to regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco and alcohol. Health experts argue the group is misguiding the public by claiming the reforms will benefit criminals selling unregulated products. The Australian Taxpayers Alliance, behind the ads, has ties to tobacco companies and opposes strict regulation. Health Minister Mark Butler counters these claims, stating the need to prevent youth nicotine addiction. The government's plan includes bans on importation and sales without prescription to combat illegal markets.

February 16, 2024 by

Australia’s Vape Prohibition Replicates Drug-War Disasters

Australia's stringent anti-vaping stance has resulted in a thriving illicit market for vaping products, echoing the failures of drug bans in the past. Over 90% of Australia's 1.7 million adult vapers have turned to the illicit market due to harsh restrictions that require a nicotine prescription to vape legally. The illicit market in Australia is estimated to import 120 million unregulated vapes from China annually, with products sold openly without consumer protections. The profitability of illegal vapes has led to an intensifying turf war among organized trafficking networks, resulting in acts of violence and exploitation of marginalized recruits.

February 14, 2024 by

New Zealand expert advises Australian policymakers on vaping

DURING A WEEK-LONG VISIT TO AUSTRALIA, Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) has been engaging with Australian policymakers to develop a best-practice vaping regulatory framework. Smoking and vaping policies were very similar in Australia and New Zealand until 2020 when the four major political parties in New Zealand accepted vaping as an important tool to accelerate the decline in smoking rates. Since 2020, New Zealand has had a regulated vaping market that allowed a wide range of vapes to be sold as adult consumer products.

February 14, 2024 by

HILDA data show psychological distress rising, loneliness highest among young Australians

According to the latest data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report, younger Australians are experiencing higher levels of psychological distress and loneliness compared to older age groups. The data also reveals an increase in loneliness among young people over time, potentially linked to the use of smartphones and social media. Additionally, the report shows that psychological distress levels decline with age, with the youngest age group (15-24) reporting the highest levels.

February 13, 2024 by

Vaping is ‘a young person phenomenon’ in Australia

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey has found that younger Australians between the ages of 15 and 24 are the most likely to use e-cigarettes and vaping devices. 14.1% of Australians over the age of 15 have tried e-cigarettes or vaping, with young people being the highest demographic. Professor Roger Wilkins, Deputy Director of the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research and HILDA Survey Co-Director, says vaping is “very much a young person phenomenon”. “I think the rise in vaping has been driven by the high price of cigarettes – younger people can’t contemplate spending $AU50 or $AU60 on a packet of cigarettes.

February 13, 2024 by

Teens far more likely to vape than parents

A recent report has revealed concerning trends related to smoking, vaping, substance use, and mental health in Australia. The report, based on data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, found that tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption are declining, while vaping is on the rise, particularly among teenagers. Males were more likely to use e-cigarettes than females, and residents of New South Wales were the most likely to be e-cigarette users.

February 08, 2024 by

Taking on Big Tobacco to protect our kids from vapes

The Albanese Government has implemented world-leading reforms to address the rising concern of vaping among young Australians. Starting with the ban on importing disposable, single-use vapes, further changes will be implemented in March. Restrictions on flavors, reduction in nicotine concentration, and the use of pharmaceutical packaging aim to make vapes less appealing to young people. New laws will make it illegal to produce, advertise, or sell single-use disposable or non-therapeutic vapes nationwide. The goal is to reduce the availability and accessibility of vaping products and ensure that they are only obtainable from pharmacies for therapeutic purposes.