"In 2017, 82% of all secondary students in Australia had never smoked (Table 3.1). Levels of experimental and regular smoking increased with age, but by age 17 most students (65%) had still never smoked.
"Overall, around 2% of all students had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime (6% of 17 year olds). The lowest proportion of students to have smoked in the past month was among 12 and 13 year olds (2%), and this level rose to 16% among 17 year olds. A similar pattern was evident among students who had smoked in the past week (i.e., current smokers), from 1-2% of 12 and 13 year olds to 11% of 17 year olds. Only around 3% of all students had smoked on three or more days during the past week (committed smokers), with this being highest among 17 year olds (6%).
"We found only three sex differences in smoking rates within these time periods when looking at each age separately. For 13 year olds, more male than female students had ever smoked, while among 17 year olds, more male than female students had smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime1. Committed smoking was more common among males than females aged 17.
"Patterns in current smoking
"Around 33% of current smokers aged 12 to 17 had smoked on only one day of the past week (Table 3.2). Around half had smoked on three or more days of the past week, with around 22% smoking daily.
"The frequency of smoking increased with age among male current smokers. There was a tendency for more younger male current smokers to smoke on only one day of the week (12-15: 35%; 16-17 students: 27%), and for more older male current smokers to smoke on three or more days of the past week (16-17: 57%; 12-15: 50%).
"The opposite pattern was evident in female current smokers. For this group, there was a tendency for more older students to smoke on only one day of the past week (16-17: 38%; 12-15: 30%), while more younger female current smokers smoked on at least three days of the past week (12-15: 53%; 16-17: 47%).
"Over all ages, male current smokers tended to smoke on more days per week than female current smokers. This was mainly due to older male students smoking on more days per week.
"Male smokers also used a higher number of cigarettes each week than female current smokers (Table 3.2). Students aged 16 and 17 smoked more cigarettes per week (M = 18) than those aged 12 to 15 (M = 15).
"Current smokers who did not smoke every day used substantially fewer cigarettes per week (M = 8) than daily smokers (M = 45). Among females, older daily smokers smoked more cigarettes in a week (M = 47) than younger daily smokers (M = 29). A similar age effect was not found for male students."
Guerin, N. & White, V. (2020). ASSAD 2017 Statistics & Trends: Australian Secondary Students’ Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Over-the-counter Drugs, and Illicit Substances. Second Edition. Cancer Council Victoria.