More people choosing to butt out as smoking rates drop

More regional and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities across Victoria are ditching their cigarettes, with just one in 10 adults reporting they are daily smokers according to Cancer Council Victoria (CCV).

CCV’s Victorian Smoking and Health Survey 2018 found smoking among regional Victorians has fallen from 14.3 percent to 11.1 percent, although smoking in the Loddon Mallee, which includes the Central Goldfields Shire, is still high compared to the rest of the state.

The latest region-specific data from CCV, which comes from 2016, found the Loddon Mallee has the second highest rate of current smokers in Victoria at 20.1 percent, close behind the Grampians where 21.5 percent of people are current smokers.

However, the rate of smokers is on the decrease with 24.8 percent of people in Loddon Mallee ex-smokers and 54.9 percent are non-smokers.

Quit director Dr Sarah White said the decrease in prevalence of smoking is being driven by increases in both the proportion of people who used to smoke but have now successfully quit and people who have never smoked.

“Since 2015, the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at the Cancer Council has been tracking the annual change in the proportion of former smokers,” she said.

“What they’ve found is a statistically significant increase in quitting from 55.4 percent in 2015 to 60.4 percent in 2018, which is tracking with a statistically significant decrease in smoking prevalence from 13.5 percent in 2015 to 10.7 percent in 2018.”

For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, June 25

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