The Northern Territory's firm grip on claims it has the highest rate of tobacco related deaths and diseases in the nation remain with the release of a new report this week.
Researchers at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have found the burden of disease from tobacco use was highest in the Northern Territory.
And those living remotely in the Top End were experiencing the worst of it.
The report, Burden of Tobacco use in Australia, used burden of disease analysis to study the impact of smoking on the population in terms of premature death (the fatal burden) and years lived in ill health (the non-fatal burden).
People living in the Territory were 2.6 times more likely to be dying early or dealing with disease from smoking than wealthier parts of Australia.
"Tobacco use remains the leading risk factor for ill health and premature death in Australia and was responsible for 9.3 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia in 2015," AIHW spokesman Richard Juckes said.
"Almost three-quarters of the burden due to smoking was fatal.
"Forty-three per cent of the tobacco-related disease burden was due to cancer and most of this was from lung cancer."
He said chronic obstructive pulmonary disease accounted for 30 per cent of the burden, coronary heart disease 10 per cent and stroke 3.1 per cent.
Tobacco use contributed to an estimated 21,000 deaths in Australia during 2015.
A host of initiatives established over the past decade warning people of the dangers have had significant impacts on smoking rates.
Earlier this year, the Northern Territory Government coincided the release of an action plan with World No-Tobacco Day.
The Northern Territory Tobacco Action Plan 2019-2023 aimed to de-normalise smoking and reduce uptake by young people.
"While NT tobacco consumption rates are reducing, historically the Northern Territory has and continues to have the highest rate of smoking per capita in Australia," Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles said at the time of the release.
"This Tobacco Action Plan supports ongoing efforts to reduce this prevalence."
Key target groups were pregnant women and their families, children and young people, people with mental illness and people released from NT Prisons.
Chair of the Northern Territory Tobacco Control Action Committee, Professor David Thomas, said a key feature of the action plan was its focus on disadvantaged groups.
"Many of these groups have much higher rates of smoking than the general population," he said.
"Special emphasis is placed on reducing harm for Aboriginal Territorians, who suffer the greatest burden from tobacco use.
"These actions will benefit Territorians by reducing the incidence of smoking related harms, increasing public amenity by expanding smoke-free areas, and reducing adverse impacts and costs related to illnesses caused by smoking."
Researchers at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has reported the the rate of disease burden due to tobacco is falling, and is expected to continue on a downward trend.
According to the latest figures, tobacco use fell between 2003 and 2015 by 24 per cent; daily smoking rates have almost halved since the early 1990s.
"This pattern is predicted to continue, with the overall burden expected to fall by another 10 per cent by 2025," Mr Juckes said.
"While the burden associated with current smoking fell, the burden linked to past smoking rose by 15 per cent.
"This is probably because some of the diseases associated with smoking, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can take many years to develop."
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