At a glance
In Queensland in 2022:
- 420,000 (10.4%) adults smoked daily in 2022—230,000 (11.8%) were male and 190,000 (9.1%) were female.
- 23,000 (6.9%) of school children 12 to 17 years had smoked at least one cigarette in the previous seven days in 2017.
- Daily smoking prevalence was more than three times higher in the most disadvantaged areas compared to the most advantaged areas.
- Daily smoking prevalence was almost 80% higher in remote areas compared to major cities.
- Adult daily smoking rates have halved over the past 20 years.
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. The health impacts of smoking include cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and many other conditions affecting most body systems.1 Compared to adults who have never smoked, Australian current smokers die on average 10 years earlier and develop age-related diseases 10 years earlier.2,3
According to the most recently available information:
- In 2018, smoking accounted for 8.6% of the total health burden (DALY) in Australia.1
- In 2015–16, the total cost of smoking was estimated at $137 billion, which translates to $27.4 billion based on Queensland’s share of the Australian population. Nationally, tangible costs of $19.2 billion include premature death, hospitalisations, other medical and social costs, workplace absenteeism, and tobacco spending. Intangible cost of $118 billion include the value of life lost, pain, and suffering.4
In 2022, 10.4% of Queensland adults smoked daily, 4.7% smoked less often than daily, 28.0% were ex-smokers, and 56.9% had never smoked (Figure 1).
Adult daily tobacco smokers were more likely to be:
- live in more disadvantaged or remote areas.
Among the 4.7% of Queensland adults who smoked less than daily, 1.9% smoked at least once a week (but not daily) and 2.8% smoked occasionally (less than once a week).
Never smokers were more likely to be:
- live in more advantaged and more urban areas.
Adult smoking cessation
Almost two-thirds (65.0%) of Queensland adults who had ever smoked were not currently smoking tobacco in 2022. Among ever smokers, older adults were more likely to have quit smoking than younger adults. This result needs to be interpreted considering smoking-related mortality was higher in the older age groups, and quit attempts are more likely among older smokers.
Figure 1: Smoking status of Queensland adults, 2022
Children and young people
In 2017 (latest data available), more than three-quarters (77.1%) of high school students in Queensland had never used tobacco, while 19.6% had smoked less than 100 cigarettes and 3.4% had smoked 100 cigarettes or more.
Queensland high school students who had tried a few puffs of tobacco (10.0%) were more likely to be older.
In 2017, 6.9% of Queensland high school students had smoked tobacco in the previous week and were more likely to be older students.5
Figure 2: Smoking status of Queensland school students, 2017
|Past tobacco use||No (%)||Yes (%)|
|Ever smoked a cigarette||77.1||23.0|
|Smoked last 12 months||82.6||17.4|
|Smoked last 4 weeks||89.9||10.1|
|Smoked last 7 days||93.1||6.9|
Daily smoking prevalence halved between 2002 and 2022 (49.6% decrease over the entire period).
The decrease in the number of daily smokers was greater among younger adults than older adults, and among adults living in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas than those in the most advantaged areas. There was no difference in the rate of change among males and females.
The proportion of smokers who have quit smoking increased by 9.2% from 2009 to 2022 (from 58.5% to 65.0%). There was no evidence that quit rates varied by sociodemographic characteristics.
Children and young people
The prevalence of Australian secondary school students who had ever smoked tobacco significantly declined by 5 percentage points from 2011 to 2017 (from 23% to 18%). This difference was similar for male and female students.
Figure 3: Queensland adult smoking trends
In 2017–18, the Queensland age-standardised adult daily smoking prevalence was similar to national results (15.1% compared to 14.0%) and Queensland ranked 3rd highest of the jurisdictions (see technical note).6
Data and statistics
Visit the following websites for more information about tobacco smoking:
- Tobacco in Australia
- Summary results from the Queensland preventive health survey (QPHS) for Hospital and Health Services and other regions can be found within this report and more detailed and historical results can be accessed at Preventive health surveys.
Strategies and information
Visit the following websites for more information about tobacco strategies, legislation and resources to stop smoking:
- The Department of Health and Aged Care - National Tobacco Strategy 2012–2018
- Queensland Health - Smoking laws in Queensland
- Queensland government - Quit HQ
- Cancer Council Queensland - Harmful effects of smoking.
Section technical notes
Where presented, ratios were calculated using higher precision estimates than in text. Ratios calculated using estimates in text may differ.
Data for this section were sourced from:
- the Queensland preventive health survey (QPHS) (See Preventive health surveys for further information)
- the Australian Secondary School Alcohol and Drugs Survey (ASSAD) (See Australian secondary school students alcohol and drug survey for further information)
- the Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services (See Report on Government Services for further information).
At the time of publication, national comparisons more recent than 2017–18 were not available due to a COVID-related delay in the conduct of the ABS’s National Health Survey and the manner by which the data was collected. Further details can be found at National Health Survey: First Results methodology.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2021. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2018. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 23. Cat. no. BOD 29. Canberra: AIHW. doi: 10.25816/5PS1-J259.
- Banks E., Joshy G., Weber M.F., Liu B., Grenfell R., Egger S., Paige E., Lopez A.D., Sitas F. & Beral V. 2015. Tobacco smoking and all-cause mortality in a large Australian cohort study: findings from a mature epidemic with current low smoking prevalence. BMC Medicine. 13(1): 38. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0281-z.
- Jha P. & Peto R. 2014. Global effects of smoking, of quitting, and of taxing tobacco. New England Journal of Medicine. 370(1): 60–68. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1308383.
- Whetton S., Tait R.J., Scollo M., Banks E., Chapman J., Dey T. & et al. 2019. Identifying the social costs of tobacco use to Australia in 2015/16. Perth: National Drug Research Institute.
- Cancer Council Queensland. 2018. Selected Queensland results from the 2017 ASSAD survey. Brisbane.
- Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision. 2023. Report on government services 2023. Accessed: 14 February 2023.