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New data released this week from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that smoking rates in Australia have fallen to a historic low of 11.0 per cent, with the SA smoking rate at a similar level on 11.9 per cent.  

However, data from the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey shows that older South Australians are still not getting the no smoking message, with the daily smoking rate for South Australians in their 50s increasing from 12.6 per cent to 18.8 per cent between 2016 and 2019.

The smoking rate in this age group hasn’t been this high since 2007, when it sat at 18.9 per cent.

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size said that, although the results are generally encouraging, the smoking rate in older South Australians remains concerning.

“While we have seen a downward trend in overall smoking rates since 2001, the increase in smoking amongst older South Australians is definitely worrying.”

“We know that two in three Australian smokers’ risk premature death due to the long term impacts of smoking. But we also know that as soon as you make the decision to quit, there are almost immediate positive health impacts, such as a reduction in blood pressure and an improved sense of taste and smell.”

“Services like Quitline provide tailored support to all South Australians looking to quit and we encourage all smokers, particularly those in this older age group, to get in touch for tailored smoking cessation information and support.”

The data also showed concerning trends in the use of e-cigarettes, with 12.4 per cent of South Australians reporting having used one in their lifetime, compared to 9.0 per cent in 2016. Particularly concerning is the high rate of e-cigarette use in smokers at 44.0 per cent.

“There is no evidence to suggest e-cigarettes are effective as a quit smoking aid. In fact, recent reports have shown that chemicals in e-cigarettes can have significant health impacts, which is why it’s so concerning to see an increase in South Australians using e-cigarettes over the last three years.”

“E-cigarettes are not a proven smoking cessation tool and shouldn’t be used as one. Our message to South Australians is that if you are thinking of quitting smoking, Quitline 13 7848 should be your first port of call.”

“Our expert Quitline counsellors are here to provide you with evidence-based information and support, along with safe quitting aids that can help you quit the habit for good,” he said.

“Evidence shows that contacting Quitline can double your chances of quitting successfully. Our message to all South Australian smokers is to get in touch—we’re here to help.”

A full copy of the data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey can be found on the website here.

Quitline operates from Cancer Council SA by trained and experienced counsellors, who are available Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 8.00 pm, and Saturday 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

For more information or to get in touch contact Quitline on 13 7848 or visit the Quitline website on