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NSW SMOKING RATES INCREASE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS – BUT ILLAWARRA SHOALHAVEN HAS SECOND LOWEST RATE IN THE STATE

March 29, 2018

For the first time in five years, overall NSW smoking rates have increased – but the Illawarra-Shoalhaven local health district is improving, bucking the trend with the second lowest smoking rate in the State.

 

While Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said he was “alarmed” by the State-wide trend, Wollongong Labor MP Paul Scully welcomed data showing the Illawarra-Shoalhaven was only second to Sydney’s leafy north shore for the lowest smoking rates.

 

Mr Secord accused the Berejiklian Government of becoming complacent due to the “heavy lifting” by the previous Rudd and Gillard Labor federal governments.

 

He said the Berejiklian Government had failed to meet COAG anti-smoking targets.

 

Mr Secord said while State-wide smoking rates in women remained constant at 11.6 per cent, there had been a 3.1 per cent jump in males – from 15.5 per cent to 18.6 per cent.

 

This increased the overall State-wide smoking rate to 15 per cent – an increase of 1.5 per cent  in 2016.

 

Nationally, the Australian Bureau of Statistic National Health Survey reported for 2014-15 that the national smoking rate was 14.7 per cent.

 

Mr Secord and Mr Scully were referring to official data from the Health Stats NSW showing smoking rates in the State from 2002 to 2016.  http://www.healthstats.nsw.gov.au/Indicator/beh_smo_age

 

The lowest rate was in Northern Sydney local health district at nine per cent and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District had the second lowest smoking rate in the State at 12.6 per cent.

 

Mr Scully said in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven local health district, there were steady improvements. In 2002, the smoking rate was 23.1 per cent; in 2006, it was 18.8 per cent and in 2011, it was 14.5 per cent – with the most recent data – 2016, showing that 12.6 per cent.

 

The years 2012 and 2015 were unusual for the region with slight increases, but the recent trend is to “butt out”.

 

Mr Scully said: “This is fantastic news. We have the highest vaccination rates in NSW and now we have the second lowest smoking rates. The health message is getting through to the families of the Illawarra.”

 

“NSW has a health and hospital system under enormous pressure. The last thing the health system needs is an increase in the number of people smoking and the associated health problems,” Mr Secord said.

 

Overall, the highest single smoking demographic group in NSW is males between 35 and 44 years old at 26.9 per cent.

 

The highest smoking rates for women were between the age of 45 and 54 – at 14.6 per cent.

 

Mr Secord said he wanted to see the Berejiklian Government re-assess its approach to tobacco and smoking.

 

The Berejiklian Government was on track to “fail” to meet the COAG benchmark of a smoking rate of 10 per cent. They had also failed to slash the smoking rates among indigenous people by half.

 

“Sadly, the first increase in smoking in a long-time has occurred under the watch of the NSW Liberals and Nationals.” Mr Secord said.

 

“The Berejiklian Government has rested on the laurels and hard work of the Rudd and Gillard governments and the brave and principled policy decisions by the then-Health Minister Nicola Roxon.”

 

Nationally, Australia has among the strictest anti-smoking regulations in the world – including taxes and plain packaging – introduced in 2012.

 

Western NSW and the Central Coast local health districts reported the highest rates of smoking at 23.9 per cent and 20.1 per cent, respectively.

 

On a positive note, Mr Secord said he acknowledged that smoking rates among pregnant women were dropping.  The smoking rate amongst pregnant women in 2005 was 14.3 per cent however it has now dropped to 8.3 per cent (2016).

 

Since 2001, the smoking rate during pregnancy has dropped every single year recorded by HealthStats NSW.

 

Smoking rates by local health district

 

Local Health District

Per cent

 Western NSW

23.9

Central Coast

20.1

Southern NSW

18.5

Northern (North Coast)

18

Nepean Blue Mountains

17.7

Murrumbidgee

17

Sydney

15.7

South Western Sydney

15.6

Mid North Coast

15.4

Hunter New England

15

Western Sydney

14.3

Far West (Broken Hill)

14.3

South Eastern Sydney

13.5

Illawarra Shoalhaven

12.6

Northern Sydney

9

 

Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District smoking rates

 

Year

Sex

Actual estimate (Per cent)

Change(per cent)

2016

Males

14

-8.9

2016

Females

11.2

-3.6

2016

Persons

12.6

-6.3

 

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