Closing gap on Indigenous smoking ‘challenging’

Associate Professor David Thomas from the Menzies School of Health Research and Lowitja Institute, Darwin, analysed data from national surveys of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people conducted in 1994, 2002, 2004 and 2008.

Between 1994 and 2008, the prevalence of male Indigenous smoking fell from 58.5% to 52.6%, while female smoking fell from 51% to 47.4%, the research showed.

Among females, there was an absolute decrease in smoking by 0.5% per year in non-remote areas but a 0.4% per year increase in remote areas, while there were no significant differences for males based on dwelling area. 

Overall, the quit ratio increased absolutely by 1% per year in both genders and in all areas, he found.

In 2008 the Indigenous prevalence of current smoking was more than double that of other Australians (49.8% vs 20.5%).