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Drop In Smoking Rates Welcome

Cancer Control Council Welcomes Drop In Smoking Rate But More Work To Be Done

30 May 2008

The Cancer Control Council of New Zealand today welcomed news that smoking rates in New Zealand are at an all time low, says Council chair Dame Catherine Tizard.

The Council provides independent advice on cancer issues to the Minister of Health and the cancer community.

Results from the comprehensive Ministry of Health’s 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey - puts New Zealand’s smoking prevalence at a record low of 19.9 per cent for current smokers (aged 15 years and over).

``What is really exciting is that the biggest drops have occurred among Maori and Pacific people and teenagers. The rate for Maori men dropped from 42.9 per cent to 34.8 per cent and for Māori women it dropped from 51.0 per cent in 2002/03 to 40.1 per cent in 2006/07.’’

The rate among Pacific people dropped from 34.6 per cent in 2002/03 to 25.4 per cent. Youth smoking rates have dropped from 28.6 per cent in 1999 to 12.8 per cent in 2007.

``It is clear that the various programmes and initiatives are starting to have an effect on how New Zealanders view tobacco but the council cautions that there is still more work to be done.’’

``While we have seen the success of initiatives like banning smoking in our workplaces restaurants and bars, the focus now needs to turn to banning tobacco displays in shops.

The Council will be advising the Minister of Health that he should support implementing a ban on tobacco displays as soon as possible.

``Many countries around the world have already taken tobacco off the shelf and out of sight of children and people who are trying to kick the habit.’’

It is a relatively simple measure that will help denormalise tobacco. The council would also like to congratulate all those in the tobacco control sector as it’s their work that contributes to the wellness of future generations.


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