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Adolescents and youth

15–24 years

Health risk factors

This section presents statistics about health risk factors linked to behaviour such as alcohol use, smoking, physical activity, weight and diet.

Smoking status

In 2018–19, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24:

  • 28% (42,700) were current daily smokers, 4% (5,700) smoked but less often, 8% (13,100) were ex-smokers, and 61% (94,000) never smoked.
  • Those living in remote areas were more likely to be be current daily smokers (44% or 11,600) than those living in non-remote areas (24% or 31,100) (Figure AY 24).

Alcohol use

In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24, in the last 12 months:

  • 36% (55,700) had never consumed alcohol or last consumed alcohol more than 12 months ago.
  • 49% (76,100) had, at least once, consumed alcohol at a risky level on a single occasion (more than 4 standard drinks) (Figure AY 25a).

In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24:

  • 16% (24,000) exceeded the lifetime risk guideline (more than 2 standard drinks per day on average in the last week).
  • Males (25% or 19,800) were more likely to exceed the lifetime risk guidelines than females (6% or 4,700) (Figure AY 25b).

Substance use

In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–24 in the last 12 months:

  • 68% (69,000) did not use substances for non-medical purposes.
  • The most common substance used was marijuana (including hashish and cannabis resin) (29% or 29,500) (Figure AY 26).


In 2018–19, 50% (24,700) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–17 were in the recommended weight range. This proportion was lower in the older age group 18–24 (30% or 30,300) (Figure AY 27).


Physical activity

In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians living in non-remote areas:

  • 5% (2,000) of those aged 15–17 met the physical activity guidelines.
  • 12% (10,600) of those aged 18–24 met the physical activity guidelines (Figure AY 28).


In 2018–19, 56% (87,100) of Indigenous Australians aged 15–24, did not meet the guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake (Figure AY 29).