December 2012: Whilst overall smoking rates are approximately 15.1% across all age groups, smoking rates appear more prevalent for young people, with 27.9% of males and 24.5% of females aged 16-24 years represented in smoking statistics.
International evidence has also been revealed that the tobacco industry continues to target young people to take up smoking as a life-long habit. Indeed, approximately 90% of smokers pick up the habit in their teenage years.
Smoking rates are also related to markers of disadvantage, with representation from almost 28% of the unemployed, more than 37% of single parents, about half of all Indigenous people, and an estimated 70-80% of those with mental illness.
In the long term, effects of smoking include chronic illness and disease such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. However, for young smokers the more immediate effects include a loss of fitness, increased respiratory disease, coughing and wheezing and early decline in lung functioning.
The financial impacts of smoking are also of concern, considering the link between smoking rates and disadvantage and the diversion of funds from essentials such food, clothing and shelter towards supporting a person’s nicotine addiction.