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Smoke-free homes and workplaces of a national sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Second-hand smoke was estimated to cause more than 600 000 deaths globally in 2004, mainly from ischaemic heart disease, respiratory infections, asthma and lung cancer.1 Protecting people from the dangers of second-hand smoke by banning smoking in indoor and other public places is an essential element of effective tobacco control programs.2

Smoking is banned in virtually all enclosed public places in Australia.3 More than 92% of Australian smokers and ex-smokers reported that smoking was not allowed in any indoor area at their workplace in 2010–2011, slightly less than in similar surveys in the United Kingdom and Canada but more than in the United States and European and middle- and low-income countries surveyed.4 In Australia5 and all countries with available trend data, the proportion of the population living in smoke-free homes is increasing; this is not just due to falling smoking prevalence.6

Forty-two per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years or older were daily smokers in 2012–2013, 2.6 times the age-standardised prevalence among other Australians.7 This is a decrease from 45% in 2008 and 49% in 2002, a similar rate of decline as among other Australians.