Daily smoking rates hit record low in Australia, but one demographic holds the key to improving that stat

Photo by Scott Barbour / Getty Images.

To mark World No Tobacco Day yesterday the federal government announced a national advertising campaign to target all smokers,particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

While daily smoking rates in Australia are at their lowest ever — 12.8% for people 14 years or older, down from 17.5% in 2004 — smoking continues to be a major issue amongst Indigenous Australian adults, 42% of which smoke daily.

Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash said smoking continues to be the single largest preventable cause of premature death and disease in Australia, costing an average $31.5 billion a year.

In fact, an Australian study of more than 200,000 people recently found that as many as two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke — that’s up to 1.8 million Australians. Read more about that here.

She said the campaign, which will run nationally until the end of June across TV, print, radio, digital and outdoor channels, are “very effective at discouraging people from smoking or encouraging them to quit”.

The Coalition Government has committed to reduce the rate to 10% by 2018, and to halve it for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers in the same period.

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