I have updated the graph showing the downward trend in daily smoking and tobacco control policy. The latest data are that 11% of Australian adult smoke daily.
Now – you might think that this is glorious victory for public policy until you realise that smoking rates have been falling for decades. I still maintain that plain packaging as a policy failed, even though the courts have ruled that it is legal. The decline in daily smoking is above the long-term trend, i.e. the rate of decline is lower than what it would otherwise be.
But wait – there is more. Looking at the actual tables we observe a strange thing.
The proportion of daily smokers has declined from 12.2% to 11%. The proportion of Never smoked has increased from 62.3% to 63.1%. But the proportion of Ex-smokers (or quitters) has remained constant. What has happened is that the proportion of smokers smoking less often has increased. It also looks like the proportion of males under 18 smoking has increased, while the proportion of females smoking under 18 has dramatically decreased.
Vaping is up, cannabis use is up, cocaine use is up, ecstasy use is up.
As the report indicates poorer people tend to consume tobacco while richer people consume other illicit drugs. The government is persecuting smokers and not users of actually illegal substances.