National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011

3.6 Has the smoking behaviour of secondary students changed over time?

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3.6.1 Changes in smoking prevalence

In this section changes in smoking prevalence among two age groups of students (12 to 15 years and 16 and 17 years) are examined. The key indicators of smoking involvement examined are: lifetime smoking, smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, smoking in the past month, past week (current smoking), smoking on three or more days of that week (committed smoking) and daily smoking.

Figure 3.3 shows the proportion of all 12- to 15-year-olds and 16- and 17-yearolds surveyed in each year that had smoked in the past four weeks. The proportions shown are not adjusted for age.

Figure 3.3: Trends in proportion of students aged 12-15 years and 16-17 years who had smoked in the past four weeks, 1984-2011


Line graph showing the trends in proportion of students aged 12-15 and 16-17 years. The vertical line being the percentage and the horizontal line being the year of the surveyDescription of Figure 3.3
Among 12- to 15-year-olds, the proportion of students who had smoked in the past four weeks decreased between 1984 and 1990 and then started to rise again in the 1990s. Smoking prevalence began to decline after 1996 and this decline has continued to 2011. Among this younger age group, the proportion of students who had smoked in the past four weeks in 2011 was lower than at any other point in this survey series.
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Among 16- and 17-year-olds, while smoking prevalence declined in the late 1980s, it rose again in the early 1990s. The proportion of 16- and 17-year-olds smoking in the past four weeks began to decrease after 1999 and this decline continued to 2008. However, the proportion of students who had smoked in the past four weeks among 16- and 17-year-olds in 2011 was the same as in 2008.

The statistical significance of changes in smoking prevalence between 2005 and 2011 is considered in Table 3.13. Figure 3.4 shows the proportion of all 12- to 15-year-olds surveyed in each year who were current smokers and the proportion who were committed smokers. Figure 3.5 shows the results for 16- and 17-year-olds. The proportions shown in the figures are not adjusted for age.

Figure 3.4: Trends in proportion of current (smoked in past seven days) and committed smokers (smoked on 3 or more days of past seven days) among 12- to 15-year-old students, 1984-2011


Line graph showing the trends in proportion of current (smoked in past seven days) and committed smokers (smoked on 3 or more days of past seven days) among 12- to 15-year-old students, 1984-2011. Description of Figure 3.4

Figure 3.5: Trends in proportion of current (smoked in past seven days) and committed smokers (smoked on 3 or more days of past seven days) among 16- to 17-year-old students, 1984 - 2011



Line graph showing the trends in proportion of current (smoked in past seven days) and committed smokers (smoked on 3 or more days of past seven days) among 16- to 17-year-old students, 1984 - 2011.Description of Figure 3.5
Table 3.13 shows the proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds, 16- to 17-year-olds and 12- to 17-year-olds who had ever smoked, smoked 100 or more cigarettes in their lifetime, smoked in the past month, smoked in the past seven days, smoked on three or more of the preceding seven days, and who were daily smokers, in 2005, 2008 and 2011 for males, females and for all students.

Table 3.13: Percentage of students involved with tobacco use at different levels in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
29.2**
21.8**
17.9
Females
27.8**
20.5**
15.6
Total
28.6**
21.1**
16.7

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
51.7**
42.2
39.5
Females
52.8**
44.1
39.4
Total
52.2**
43.2
39.4

12 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
35.1**
27.3**
24.1
Females
34.8**
27.2**
22.6
Total
34.9**
27.2**
23.3
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12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.5**
2.3
1.9
Females
3.6**
2.1
1.6
Total
3.1**
2.2
1.7

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
11.0
8.7
8.6
Females
10.3**
7.4
7.0
Total
10.6**
8.1
7.8

12 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Smoked at least 100 cigarettes in lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
5.5**
4.0
3.8
Females
4.7**
3.6
3.2
Total
5.1**
3.8
3.5

12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
8.8**
6.6
5.7
Females
9.7**
8.1**
5.5
Total
9.2**
7.3**
5.6

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
20.8**
17.5
17.7
Females
22.5**
17.1
16.3
Total
21.7**
17.3
17.0

12 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
11.9**
9.5
9.2
Females
13.2**
10.7**
8.7
Total
12.6**
10.1
8.9
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12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Current smokers (smoked in past seven days)
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
6.7**
4.8
4.4
Females
7.0**
5.8**
3.8
Total
6.8**
5.3**
4.1

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Current smokers (smoked in past seven days)
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
16.0
12.8
13.4
Females
17.1**
12.5
12.3
Total
16.6**
12.7
12.9

12 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Current smokers (smoked in past seven days)
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
9.1**
6.9
7.0
Females
9.8**
7.7
6.3
Total
9.4**
7.3
6.7


12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Committed smokers (Smoked on 3+ days in past seven days)
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
4.2**
2.8
2.2
Females
4.3**
3.2**
2.1
Total
4.2**
3.0**
2.1

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Committed smokers (Smoked on 3+ days in past seven days
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
9.8
8.2
7.5
Females
11.2**
7.7
7.2
Total
10.5**
7.9
7.3

12 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Committed smokers (Smoked on 3+ days in past seven days)
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
5.6**
4.2
3.7
Females
6.2**
4.5
3.6
Total
5.9**
4.4
3.6
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12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Smoked daily in past seven days
2005
(%)

2008
(%)

2011
(%)

Males
2.2**
1.3
1.0
Females
2.1**
1.2
0.9
Total
2.1**
1.2
1.0

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Smoked daily in past seven days
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
5.2
4.0
3.9
Females
5.7**
3.6
3.4
Total
5.4
3.8
3.6

12 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Smoked daily in past seven days
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.0**
2.0
1.8
Females
3.1**
1.9
1.7
Total
3.0**
1.9
1.8


12 to 15 year-olds

Recency period – Daily smokers among current smokers
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
33.2
27.5
23.7
Females
29.6
20.9
24.5
Total
31.4**
23.9
24.1

16 to 17 year-olds

Recency period – Daily smokers among current smokers
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
32.3
31.4
28.8
Females
33.3
28.5
27.8
Total
32.9
30.0
28.3

12 to 17 year-olds

]Recency period – Daily smokers among current smokers
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
32.8**
29.5
26.5
Females
31.4
24.4
26.4
Total
32.1**
26.8
26.4

** Significantly different from 2011 at p <0.01.

For 12- to 15-year-olds, the proportion of male, female and all students smoking in each of the recency periods (lifetime, past four weeks, past seven days and on three days of past seven days) in 2011 was significantly lower than in 2005 and except among males was significantly lower than in 2008. However, while the 2011 prevalence rates for smoking 100 cigarettes and daily smoking were lower than estimates found in 2005, they were generally not significantly different from estimates found in 2008.

The proportions of 16- and 17-year-olds smoking in the different recency periods in 2011 was not significantly lower than the proportions found in 2008, but, except for findings when considering males by themselves and for daily smoking, were generally significantly lower than the proportions found in 2005.

Among all 12- to 15-year-olds and all 12- to 17-year-olds, the proportion of daily smokers among current smokers in 2011 was lower than the proportion found in 2005 but not significantly different from 2008. However among 16- and 17-yearolds, the proportion of daily smokers among current smokers in 2011 was not significantly different from the proportions found in 2005 or 2008. This suggests that the significant decrease in daily smoking among all 12 to 17-year-old current smokers between 2005 and 2011 was largely driven by the decrease found for 12- to 15-year-old current smokers.
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3.6.2 Changes in students’ ability to purchase cigarettes

Figure 3.6 shows the proportion of current smokers buying their cigarettes in each survey year since 1987 for those aged 12 to 15 years, and 16 and 17 years.

Figure 3.6: Proportion of current smokers# aged 12–15 (left) and 16–17 (right)buying cigarettes for themselves in each survey year from 1987 to 2011


Column graph Showing the proportion of current smokers buying their cigarettes in each survey year since 1987 for those aged 12 to 15 years, and 16 and 17 years.Description of Figure 3.6

# Current smokers: students who smoked on any of the past seven days.

There has been a large decrease over time in the proportion of current smokers purchasing their cigarettes. The proportion of current smokers aged 12 to 15 years buying their cigarettes decreased between 1987 and 2002. The proportion of younger current smokers buying their last cigarette increased slightly between 2002 and 2005 and then decreased between 2005 and 2011. The proportion of current smokers buying their last cigarette in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportion in all years between 1987 and 1999 and in 2005 (p<0.01).

Among older current smokers, the proportion buying their own cigarettes, started to decrease after 1990. The proportion of older current smokers buying their last cigarette in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportions in all surveys between 1987 and 2002 (p<0.01) but was not different to the proportions found in 2005 and 2008.

Between 1990 and 2002 there was an increase in the proportion of current smokers saying they obtained their cigarettes by getting someone else to buy them (Figure 3.7).

Figure 3.7: Proportion of current smokers# aged 12–15 years (left) and 16–17 years (right) getting someone else to buy cigarettes for them in each survey year from 1990 to 2011


Column graph showing the proportion of current smokers[<sup>#</sup>] aged 12–15 years (left) and 16–17 years (right) getting someone else to buy cigarettes for them in each survey year from 1990 to 2011.Description of Figure 3.7

# Current smokers: students who smoked on any of the past seven days.

The proportion of younger current smokers getting others to buy cigarettes for them decreased between 2002 and 2005, remained fairly stable between 2005 and 2008 and has increased slightly between 2008 and 2011. However, there was no significant difference in the proportions of younger current smokers getting someone else to buy cigarettes for them between 1999 and 2011.

Among 16- to 17-year-olds the proportion of current smokers getting someone else to buy cigarettes for them increased between 1990 and 2002 and then decreased between 2002 and 2005. While the proportion of older current smokers significantly increased between 1999 and 2011 (p<0.01), it did not change significantly between 2002 and 2011.

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