Research leaves smoking stereotypes up in smoke

19 Feb 2024

A first-of-its-kind national study from The Australian National University (ANU) has debunked common myths about who smokes in Australia and will help provide better support and potentially life-saving interventions for 2.5 million daily smokers.

The study, the first national population profile of people who smoke, counters widespread perceptions that smokers are largely uneducated, unemployed and suffer poor mental health. Instead, the findings make clear smoking affects the whole community.

Study senior author Professor Emily Banks, from ANU, 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,” Professor Banks said.

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

The findings are published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Read the full story at ANU Reporter.

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