Big Drop in Smoking

New figures show a historic low in the numbers of Tasmanians smoking.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Roscoe Taylor said the Tasmanian Population Health Survey data released recently showed well under 1 in 5 Tasmanians now smoked and the trend was towards even fewer Tasmanians smoking in the future.
"This is a tremendous result and means many thousands of Tasmanians will live longer and more productively, and the financial burden on the health system will be dramatically less," Dr Taylor said.
Dr Taylor said the data was further proof Tasmania deserved being named joint winner for along with the ACT of the Clean Ashtray Award in the Australian Medical Association's 2014 National Tobacco Scoreboard.
"While it's good that Tasmania has been recognised for making it easier to give up smoking, there's more work to do.
"Quitting smoking is one of the most dramatic single health choices people can make.
"And we're making sure that we support Tasmanians in quitting and not taking up smoking in the first place.
"This includes making it easier for people to find smoke-free places in public."
Dr Taylor said the Tasmanian Population Health Survey 2013 showed the number of Tasmanian adults smoking had fallen from 19.8 per cent to 15 per cent since the last survey in 2009.
Daily smoking rates fell from 16.1% to 11.9% across the same period.
Dr Taylor said the greatest reduction in smoking was in the 35-54 age group.
Smoking rates were significantly lower in this survey than in the 2011-2012 Australian Health Risk Survey, which showed a smoking rate of 21.7%, in part because the surveys used different methods to gather data.
This latest telephone survey of 6 300 Tasmanians conducted late in 2013 used landlines only, so is likely to have underrepresented young smokers who may only use mobile phones.
"It is important to take both surveys into account to gauge the likely true smoking rate," Dr Taylor said.
"The true percentage of current smokers is probably a little higher than the 15% shown by this latest Tasmanian survey, but the survey certainly points to a very pleasing decline in smoking rates compared with four years ago."
"While there's more work to do, these measures are making it far less likely today's generation will take up smoking and suffer some of the ill health experienced by their parents," Dr Taylor said.
The Tasmanian Population Health Survey is available online at Tasmanian Population Health Survey 2013

6 May 2014