Australia was chosen as part of the original four ITC survey countries because it is a world-leader in tobacco control policies, such as smoke-free laws. Australia signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on December 5, 2003. The treaty was ratified on October 27, 2004.

Country Profile:

Capital City Canberra
Population (2006 estimate) 20,264,082
Life expectancy (2004 estimate) Men: 78 years, Women: 83 years
Healthy life expectancy (2002 estimate) Men: 70.9 years, Women: 74.3 years
Ethnic groups White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%
GDP per capita (2004) $31,454
Median age 36.9 years
Literacy 99%

Smoking Prevalence and Related Costs:

  • Approximately 25% of Australians (3 million) smoke. This number jumps to 54% of people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the age of 14 (2002). 12.3% of adolescents between the ages of 14 and 19 in 2004 reported they smoke daily.
  • 1 in 7 adult deaths (19,000 per year) in Australia are attributed to tobacco. Cigarettes are the major form of tobacco consumption.
  • Smoking related hospitalizations in 2001-2002 cost the Australian government $700 million. Combined with the other social costs of smoking, whether in the form of absenteeism for business or government employees, losses in productivity, years of healthy life lost, etc, the total yearly cost of tobacco-related illness on the Australian government is an estimated $21 billion.

Smoking Policies:

  • Australia adopted a national ban on tobacco advertising in 1993.
  • Warning labels are required on cigarette packs.
  • Chew tobacco and oral snuff are prohibited.
  • Legal minimum age to buy tobacco is 18.
  • Light/mild descriptors were banned in Otctober 2005.
  • Smoking was banned in bars in 2006.

Australia policy table

Australia Contact Information

Janine Ouimet, Project Manager. Email:

Ron Borland, Principal Investigator. Email:

ITC Researchers:

Ron Borland (Principal Investigator)
Mohammad Siahpush

Melanie Wakefield
Hua Yong
David Young

ITC Affiliated Institutions:

Sources: World Health Organization, Action on Smoking and Health Australia, National Health Policy on Tobacco in Australia and Examples of Strategies for Implementation, CIA World Factbook.

Click here for the ITC Australia survey questionnaires »

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