Quit Tasmania announced today that the latest Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey showed Tasmanian adolescent smoking rates have dropped.

Quit Tasmania Director Abby Smith joins Dave to explain  smoking rates are at an all-time low for both adolescents and adults, 5% and 18% respectively.

“The survey found that about 1800 Tasmanian secondary school students aged 12-17 were current smokers in 2017, down from 2200 in 2014,” Ms Smith said.

“Among older students, current smoking rates have halved since 2011 – 16% to 8%.

“In more good news, 78% of students had never smoked, an increase from 70% in 2011.

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“Although fewer students reported purchasing cigarettes themselves, the majority (60%) sourced cigarettes from their friends in 2017.  It’s likely that these students asked an older friend to buy cigarettes for them.”

Ms Smith said that most students who smoked in the month prior to the survey had used roll-your-own tobacco at some time (73%).

“It’s worrying to see that Tobacco companies have been producing smaller pouches of tobacco that are more affordable and accessible to young people.

“We commend the Tasmanian Government for its investment in adult-focused mass media campaigns at evidence-based levels which research suggests also helps to reduce adolescent smoking.

“But we need to do a lot more to reduce and prevent tobacco use among our young people.

“We need more investment in long-term, youth-focused programs incorporating school-based activities like counteracting social factors that influence tobacco use, mass media and other strategies such as reviewing the number and type of outlets where tobacco can be sold.”