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Med J Aust. 1995 May 1;162(9):475-8.

The impact of tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption on aboriginal mortality in Western Australia, 1989-1991.

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State Health Purchasing Authority, Health Department of Western Australia, Perth.



To compare the estimated death rates associated with alcohol and tobacco use for Australian Aboriginals in Western Australia with those for non-Aboriginals.


Deaths attributable to tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption were estimated for 1989-1991 with the aetiological fractions method, using data from the Health Department of Western Australia's mortality database.


Tobacco smoking was responsible for 15.4% of all deaths and 13.9% of Aboriginal deaths, and alcohol consumption for 5% and 9.2%, respectively. The age-standardised death rates per 100,000 person-years for tobacco and alcohol were: Aboriginal males, 271 and 152; other males, 113 and 29; Aboriginal females, 118 and 56; and other females, 32 and 15. Of those who died as a result of tobacco use, 49% of Aboriginal males and 48% of Aboriginal females died before 55 years of age, compared with 11% and 10%, respectively, in non-Aboriginal males. For alcohol-related deaths, 62% of Aboriginal males and 70% of Aboriginal females died before 55 years of age, compared with 35% and 23%, respectively, in non-Aboriginals.


During 1989-1991 tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption were responsible for much higher death rates among Aboriginals than among non-Aboriginals in Western Australia.

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