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Credit: Alexander Beier (Reuters)

The percentage of people from ages 16 and over who smoke everyday or occasionally has taken a dip to 17 per cent in 2009 compared to 24 per cent in 1997, according to the latest findings od the NSW Health Survey.

Starting from 2008, the number of people who smoke daily or occasionally has decreased by one per cent, the survey told.

In NSW, smoking-associated health problems still are responsible for 6,500 deaths every year with 18 deaths daily due to smoking, informed Frank Sartor, the state's Minister Assisting the Minister of Health (Cancer).

Mr Sartor says, This survey data confirms that one in four smokers in NSW has quit the habit since 1997.

Over the past 12 months, the most significant improvement observed was the reduction in the rate of female smokers in NSW - 3 per cent down from last year to 14.2 per cent.

Mr Sartor said the lower rates of smoking in NSW was contributed by the list of measures taken by the federal and NSW governments.

The federal government had announced the rise in tobacco tax by 25 per cent last month and plain cigarette-packaging will be introduced by mid-2012.

The Cancer Institute NSW states there are nearly one million smokers in NSW and it is the number one cause of cancer.