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Smoking prevalence in Aboriginal adults

Why this indicator is important

Aboriginal adults have a higher rate of smoking compared to the total NSW adult population.

Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death among the NSW population.1

Quitting smoking is an important way to improve a person’s health. Quitting smoking at any time results in substantial health gains.

Importantly, people who have been diagnosed with cancer can benefit from quitting. Evidence suggests that quitting at the time of a cancer diagnosis can:

  • improve a person’s response to treatment
  • reduce the side-effects of treatment
  • reduce the risk of cancer recurrence 
  • increase overall survival.2,3

About this indicator

This indicator relates to Aboriginal adults aged 16 years or older who report smoking daily.

  • The daily smoking rate for Aboriginal people in NSW was 22.7% in 2017-18. It was almost double the smoking rate of the overall adult population in NSW.

Note: These data were the latest available at the time they were extracted (June 2019). For the most recent population health data, visit HealthStats NSW.

Daily smoking rate in Aboriginal adults*, NSW, 2008–2018

Smoking prevalence in Aboriginal adults*, trend, NSW, 2008–2018**

* People aged 16 years and over.
** Mobile phone numbers have been included in the survey sample since 2012. Any significant differences observed between 2011 and 2012 estimates should be reported with caution, as they may reflect both real and survey design changes.


  1. Data source: NSW Population Health Survey (sourced from HealthStats NSW, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health. Available at (accessed June 2019).


  1. Begg S, Vos T, Barker B, Stevenson C, Stanley L and Lopez A. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. PHE 82. Canberra: Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, 2007. Available at: (accessed 12 February 2020).
  2. United States Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking — 50 years of progress: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Available at: https://www.ncbi. (accessed February 2020).
  3. Parsons A, Daley A, Burgh R, Aveyard P. Influence of smoking cessation after diagnosis of early stage lung cancer on prognosis: systematic review of observational studies with meta-analysis. BMJ 2010 Jan 21;340:b5569 doi: 10.1136/bmj. b5569.