Neighbouring Hobart suburbs have garnered an unwanted title for being Australia’s worst localities when it comes to the number of smokers.
About 40 per cent of residents in Bridgewater and Gagebrook in Tasmania smoke, data from health policy think tank Mitchell Institute at Victoria University reveals.
This compares to the national average adult rate of 14 per cent smoking daily.
“Smoking kills, and it looks like six times more people in Bridgewater/Gagebrook in greater Hobart are going to die from illness caused by smoking than in Kur-ing-Gai in inner Sydney,” health policy lead Ben Harris said on Friday, World No Tobacco Day.
Risdon Vale in outer Hobart was the second worst performing suburb in the country at 34.4 per cent making it equivalent to the national rate more than 30 years ago.
Mount Druitt in NSW came an unenviable third at 31.2 per cent smokers with the South Australian suburbs of Elizabeth, Salisbury, Elizabeth North hitting 31.1 per cent.
Yet, upper northern Sydney suburbs of Gordon, Killara, Pymble had the lowest rate of smoking in the nation at 6.6 per cent.
The next door suburbs of Lindfield and Roseville ranked second best in the nation at 7.2 per cent, with nearby Epping, North Epping, Pennant Hills and Cheltenham third.
Australians with mental health conditions are more than twice as likely to be smokers as the general population, the institute reveals.
Mr Harris said where a person lives, their education and friends influenced smoking rates, and urged governments to channel funding to the communities most in need of quitting.
“We know that dramatic declines in the national smoking rates over the decades have coincided with investment in the Quit campaign,” Mr Harris said.
“There is an opportunity to use this new local information to target the Quit campaign and supporting health services.”
AUSTRALIA’S WORST AND BEST PERFORMING AREAS
National smoking rate: 14 per cent
1. Bridgewater/Gagebrook, Tasmania: 40 per cent, equivalent to national rate in 1979
2. Risdon Vale, Tasmania: 34.4 per cent, equivalent to national rate in 1986
3: Mt Druitt, NSW: 31.2 per cent, equivalent to national rate in 1988
4: Elizabeth/Salisbury/Elizabeth North, South Australia: 31.1 per cent, equivalent to national rate in 1988
5: Tamworth, NSW: 30.3 per cent, equivalent to national rate in 1989
1: Gordon/Killara/Pymble, NSW: 6.6 per cent
2: Lindfield/Roseville NSW: 7.2 per cent
3: Epping/North Epping/Pennant Hills/Cheltenham, NSW: 7.45 per cent
4: Burnside/Wattle Park, South Australia: 7.5 per cent
5: Cottesloe/Claremont, Western Australia: 7.5 per cent
- Source: Data from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University
Australian Associated Press