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A person's current and past smoking behaviour, as represented by a code.


Data Element (this item)


This representation is based on the value domain for this data element, more information is available at " Tobacco smoking status code N ".
Data Type Number
Format N
Maximum character length 1
Value Meaning Start Date End Date
Permissible Values 1 Daily smoker
2 Weekly smoker
3 Irregular smoker
4 Ex-smoker
5 Never smoked


Public health and health care


There are two other ways of categorising this information:

  • Regular and irregular smokers where a regular smoker includes someone who is a daily smoker or a weekly smoker. 'Regular' smoker is the preferred category to be reported in prevalence estimates.
  • Daily and occasional smokers where an occasional smoker includes someone who is a weekly or irregular smoker. The category of 'occasional' smoker can be used when the aim of the study is to draw contrast between daily smokers and other smokers.
    Where this information is collected by survey and the sample permits, population estimates should be presented by sex and 5-year age groups. Summary statistics may need to be adjusted for age and other relevant variables.

Smoker type is used to define subpopulations of adults (age 18+ years) based on their smoking behaviour.

Smoking has long been known as a health risk factor. Population studies indicate a relationship between smoking and increased mortality/morbidity.

This data element can be used to estimate smoking prevalence. Other uses are:

  • To evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs (assessment of interventions)
  • To monitor health risk factors and progress towards National Health Goals and Targets

It is recommended that in surveys of smoking, data on age, sex and other socio-demographic variables should be collected. It is also recommended that when smoking is investigated in relation to health, data on other risk factors including pregnancy status, physical activity, overweight and obesity, and alcohol consumption should be collected.


Related content

Relation Count
Inclusion in Data Set Specifications 11
Inclusion in Data Distributions 0
As a numerator in an Indicator 14
As a denominator in an Indicator 1
As a disaggregation in an Indicator 1