Young South Australians shunning cigarettes in record numbers

30 May 2017
Young South Australians shunning cigarettes in record numbers

Smoking rates in South Australia have been slashed, with new statistics showing a reduction in smoking rates across all age groups in recent years.

The new data from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has been released ahead of World No Tobacco Day this Wednesday 31 May.

Figures show more young people are choosing not to smoke, with the number of South Australians aged 15 to 29 smoking dropping from 16.9 per cent in 2015 to just 12.3 per cent in 2016.

Since 2010, when more than one in five South Australians aged over 15 smoked, the latest figures show significant improvements with a decrease to only 14.9 per cent in 2016.

Smoke-free outdoor dining areas are also contributing to a decline in passive smoking for all South Australians, with a drop from almost 15 per cent in 2013 to 8.6 per cent in 2016.

Smoking rates in regional areas continues to decline, with only 17 per cent of country residents choosing to smoke in 2016 compared to 23.4 per cent in 2015.


SAHMRI compiles data annually to progress targets contained in the South Australian Tobacco Control Strategies.

The 2011-2016 South Australian Tobacco Control Strategy achieved its aim of substantially decreasing smoking prevalence across the general community.

The launch of the South Australian Tobacco Control Strategy 2017-2020 last year builds on the success of previous Strategies, by continuing state-wide approaches to reduce smoking prevalence in South Australia. 

For information about quitting smoking, call Quitline on 137 848 or visit Cancer Council SA

The report can be viewed here on the SAHMRI website

Quotes attributable to Substance Abuse Minister Leesa Vlahos

We know that each year, more than 1,100 South Australians die of smoking-related causes including cancer, heart disease and respiratory conditions. 

This is why the South Australian Government continues to prioritise anti-smoking strategies to reduce the prevalence and impact of smoking for all South Australians.

This latest data show excellent progress and our efforts to reduce smoking are continuing to work, as more people heed the message to quit smoking for good.

There is still more work we can do and we will do, to continue to reduce the prevalence of smoking for the benefit of all South Australians. 

Quotes attributable to Associate Professor Caroline Miller, Director, Population Health, SAHMRI

We are now seeing the lowest rates of smoking ever recorded in South Australia, in adults and in young people. 

This is a direct result of sustained investment in high-quality, well-researched, anti-smoking mass media campaigns, coupled with increased taxation on cigarettes, hard-hitting health warnings, smoke-free areas and the systematic removal of glamorising promotion of tobacco. 

Tobacco is a deadly product which kills two in three long-term users. By staying focused on driving down smoking rates, encouraging quitting and preventing young people from starting, we are reducing the enormous preventable burdens of heart disease and cancer, saving thousands of lives in South Australia.