Smoking prevalence in adults

Smoking prevalence in NSW adults

Why this indicator is important

The number of people smoking in NSW has been falling for some years. Despite this, smoking is still a major cause of illness and premature death among the NSW population.

Quitting smoking is an important way to improve a person’s health.

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.1,2
About this indicator

This indicator includes adults aged over 16 years in NSW who reported smoking daily or occasionally.

  • Between 2008 and 2017, the proportion of adults in NSW who smoke decreased from 19.4% to 15.2%.

Note: These data were the latest available at the time they were extracted (May 2018). For the most recent population health data, visit HealthStats NSW.

Smoking prevalence in adults*, trend, NSW, 2008– to 2017**

Adult smoking prevalence in NSW was 15.0%25 in 2016

* 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 ireported 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 May 2018).


  1. United States Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking – to  50 years of progress: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Ga: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Available at (accessed January 2018).
  2. 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.