To examine trends in the prevalence of cigarette smoking between 1980 and 2001 among several different sociodemographic groups within the Australian population.
National cross sectional surveys conducted by face to face interview every 3 years from 1980. Respondents were classified into five age groups and the occupation of respondents in the workforce were classified into one of upper or lower white collar or upper or lower blue collar.
Main outcome measure
Prevalence of smoking at least weekly.
The prevalence of smoking in 2001 was lower than that found in 1980 and this was true for all sociodemographic groups. Among adults smoking prevalence decreased from 35% in 1980 to 23% in 2001. The differential in smoking prevalence between men and women decreased between 1980 and 2001. Although smoking was more common among younger Australians (<24 years) than older Australians throughout the study, the differential between age groups reduced. For all years except 1980, the proportion of smokers among upper white collar workers was significantly lower than in all other occupation groups.
There had been a continual decline in the prevalence of smoking among the Australian population since 1980. This decline had occurred across both sexes and in all age and occupation groups. Much of the decline in smoking prevalence between 1998 and 2001 was among blue collar worker group.