• April 18, 2024

Study Debunks Myths About Smokers

 Study Debunks Myths About Smokers
Photo: Taco Tuinstra

Contrary to popular perceptions, most smokers in Australia are educated, employed and in good mental health, according to a national study by the Australian National University (ANU).

Study senior author Emily Banks said the findings will help break down stigma surrounding people who smoke as well as ensure that support is better targeted to the people who need it. 

“Smoking remains Australia’s leading cause of premature death and disability, so it’s vital that we better understand who smokes and the reasons why they do,” she said in a statement.

“People who smoke are often stigmatized and stereotyped as uneducated, unemployed and mentally ill.”

“We analyzed nationally representative data on smoking in Australia to get a better understanding of who smokes in our population,” said lead author, Jessica Aw, a medical student at ANU. “We found that around 2.5 million people smoke daily in Australia; around 60 percent of people who smoke are men, 65 percent live in major cities, and 92 percent are non-Indigenous.

“In addition, 69 percent have completed year 12, 69 percent of those of working age are in paid employment and 73 percent had good mental health.

“Although smoking is more common in people who are experiencing structural disadvantage—like people in more remote areas, Indigenous peoples, those with less education and those living in poverty—most people who smoke are educated, employed and in good mental health, similar to the total population of Australia.”

The findings are published in the Medical Journal of Australia.