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Smoking rates on a downward trend

Media release

18 December 2008

Smoking rates on a downward trend

The latest survey of smoking in New Zealand confirms that smoking rates are tracking down.

The 2008 New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey shows that, after adjusting for age, 23.9% of New Zealand adults, aged 15 to 64, are smokers.
The Ministry of Health’s National Director of Tobacco Control, Dr Ashley Bloomfield says, “While the drop on the equivalent 2006 figure of 24.3% is not statistically significant, this result confirms the downward trend in smoking.

“This is good news. Even small reductions in smoking rates means thousands fewer smokers. And continuing to smoke carries a one in two risk of dying 15 years early.

“We obviously want to accelerate this reduction in the number of smokers, to reduce the huge costs of smoking to individuals, families, communities and the demand on health resources,” Dr Bloomfield says.

The adult survey result comes on top of impressive reductions in smoking among secondary school students. The Youth 2007 results released last week showed 7.8% of secondary students smoke compared with 15.5% in 2001.

Dr Bloomfield says “There is a range of initiatives underway to encourage and support people to quit smoking. It’s hard to go past the words of former smoker and mouth cancer patient Adrian Pilkington: quit smoking and give yourself the best Christmas present in the world. You don’t want to end up like me – it’s avoidable.”

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