Vaping very low among young teens and no gateway
New research shows record few Year 10 students in New Zealand are smoking, while vaping by 14 and 15-year olds remains equally low and is falling.
Kiwi vaping entrepreneur Jonathan Devery says this highlights that any concerns around vaping marketing and flavours seducing young teens are more perceived than real.
“We are very pleased to hear that the Year 10 daily smoking rate has fallen to 1.9%. It’s a dramatic drop from the 15.2% of Year 10s smoking 20 years ago, and inches us closer to Smoke Free 2025,” says Mr Devery – the co-owner of Vapo and Alt New Zealand.
Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa has released a 2018 Year 10 Snapshot by Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) which surveyed almost 29,000 Year 10 students on their smoking behaviours and attitudes.
The survey also revealed that vaping isn't an issue among the early-teen demographic.
The Minister said “Year 10 vaping in New Zealand remains low, and largely among students who smoke. There is still no evidence to suggest vaping is a gateway to cigarette smoking.”
The survey found just 1.8% of students used e-cigarettes or vaped each day, marking a slight drop from 1.9% in 2017. While only 0.5% of students who have never smoked vape daily – a drop from 0.8 per cent in 2017.
“It’s great that vaping rates remain incredibly low amongst our young secondary school students. It shows that responsible businesses like ours which strictly enforce an R18 sales policy have helped to successfully control it well before the Government assesses and implements vaping regulation this year,” says the co-owner of the largest New Zealand-owned vaping business.
Mr Devery says the extensive New Zealand survey reflects a Cardiff University study also just out. Involving nearly 250,000 British teenagers, the study concluded that vaping is not encouraging more teenagers to take up smoking tobacco cigarettes, smashing the ‘gateway’ myth around vaping.
“Vaping needs strict manufacturing standards and clear advertising guidelines. However any talk of a complete marketing ban will not help smokers switch, nor will prohibiting flavours. In fact, several overseas studies have highlighted the importance flavours have had in successfully converting smokers to vaping.
“If young Kiwi teenagers were so compelled by all the current online marketing and flavours now available, we’d be seeing a much higher uptake of 14 and 15-year olds vaping, but we’re simply not,” says Jonathan Devery.