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Cigarette smoking behaviour


'Cigarette smoking behaviour' refers to the active smoking of one or more manufactured or hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes, from purchased or home-grown tobacco, per day, by people aged 15 years and over.

Cigarette smoking does not include:

  • the smoking of cigars, pipes and cigarillos
  • the smoking of any other substances, herbal cigarettes or marijuana for example
  • the consumption of tobacco products by other means, such as chewing
  • passive smoking.

Relationship to questionnaire

Cigarette smoking behaviour is derived from two variables collected from questions 21 ('smoke regularly') and 22 ('ever smoked regularly') on the individual form (PDF 395kb).

Subject population

The subject population is the people, families, households or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

The subject population for this variable is the census usually resident population aged 15 years and over.

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate is 5.2 percent.

In 1996 the non-response rate was 7.2 percent.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Cigarette smoking behaviour is a supplementary variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Supplementary variables do not fit directly in with the main purpose of a census, but are still of importance to certain groups. These variables have third priority in terms of effort and resources.

All data must meet minimum quality standards in order to make it suitable for use.

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

The cigarette smoking behaviour topic is cyclic. It was last asked in 1996.

There are no issues affecting the comparability of this data with 1996 Census data.

Significant issues

There are no significant issues that users need to be aware of.

Other things to be aware of

  • In 2006, the ‘not stated’ category only includes respondents who did not answer either of the smoking questions. Partial responses (ie when only one of the questions was answered but both should have been answered) were classified as 'response unidentifiable'.
  • In 1996, the not stated category also included partial non-response.
  • This change has resulted in a decrease in the not stated rate in 2006 and a corresponding increase in the response unidentifiable rate between 1996 and 2006.
  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • The Internet form allowed only one response to be selected for each of the smoking questions. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. Multiple responses to these questions were possible when forms were completed on paper.
    • If respondents marked 'yes' to the smoke regularly question on the Internet, the next question, ever smoked regularly, was greyed out so the respondent could not answer it.
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