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Preventing tobacco use

Two middle aged women sitting on a park bench.

Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Victoria. It costs 4000 lives and $5 billion each and every year.


World-leading innovation – led by VicHealth in partnership with Quit Victoria, the Department of Health and others – has halved the rate of Victorians who smoke regularly to an all-time low.

VicHealth was established in 1987 with a tax on tobacco, pledged as part of the Victorian Tobacco Act of that year. Since then, we have been a leading light in the fight for a healthier, smoke-free Victoria.

Preventing tobacco use was one of the five strategic imperatives identified for action to improve the health of all Victorians. A 10-year goal was set that 400,000 more Victorians would be tobacco-free by 2023.

Preventing uptake, promoting and supporting cessation, and reducing people's exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke are the key pillars to reducing harm from tobacco in Victoria.

Adult smoking rates

The most recent data (2018) shows that 10.7% of Victorian adults regularly smoke, down from 13.5% in 2015.

Despite the achievements in reducing overall smoking prevalence in the general Victorian population, smoking rates are higher among the most socially and economically disadvantaged groups. As such, a key focus of our current investment in Quit Victoria is to engage with partners to increase the reach and impact of smoking cessation within high smoking rate populations.



Tobacco strategy


VicHealth's Action Agenda 2019-2023 reaffairms the goal that 400,000 more Victorians will be tobacco free by 2023.

Four young adults walking up stairs and not using tobacco.
Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.