Monday, 28 April 2008

Australia's cocaine use up, smoking down

AUSTRALIANS are smoking fewer cigarettes and less cannabis but using more cocaine, a report shows.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey found that from 2004 to 2007, the proportion of people aged 14 and more who smoked daily fell from 17.4 to 16.6 per cent.

Recent cannabis use dropped from just more than 11 per cent to just more than 9 per cent.

The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: first results report also found methamphetamine (or "ice") use had declined, in contrast with popular perceptions it was increasing.

The proportion of men and women using cocaine, however, increased from 1.3 to 2.2 per cent.

Welfare agency spokesman Mark Cooper-Stanbury said Australia now had one of the lowest smoking rates.

The report found about one in four teenagers put themselves at risk of short-term alcohol-related harm at least once a month. "The proportion was higher among females (28.3 per cent) than males (24.5 per cent)," he said.

The report also raised concerns about girls' smoking habits - 16 to 17-year-old females were "almost twice as likely to be daily smokers (7.4 per cent) as their male counterparts (4.1 per cent), although both of these figures dropped by about half from the previous survey".


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