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Keep kicking habit in the butt

Young people urged to keep kicking habit in the butt.

World Smoke-free Day perfect opportunity to quit, says Nanaia Mahuta

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Today's World Smokefree Day is a great opportunity for young people to kick the habit and make a positive choice for a healthy future, says Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

Although recent figures released by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) show a marked decrease in numbers 14-year-olds smoking in 2005 compared with 1999, Ms Mahuta said that more than 4500 New Zealanders still died from smoking-related illnesses each year.

"As Minister of Youth Affairs it's fantastic to see fewer young people smoking today than in previous years. I want to encourage even more young people to make positive lifestyle choices and continue that downward trend. However, far too many people are still dying from the negative effects of smoking when they do not have to.

"For those people wanting to give up smoking, today is a great day to start. Calling your local Quitline for advice and support on a cessation programme is a excellent first step.

"Sometimes young people start smoking because of peer pressure and they believe it's a cool' thing to do. What they don't realise is that tobacco is a very clever drug and before you know it, your'e hooked.

"Getting advice from a trusted adult or friend, talking to a local youth worker, or getting in touch with organisations such as Youthline (0800 37 66 33), who have experienced people to listen and offer advice, is a way that young people can help deal with issues such as peer pressure."

Ms Mahuta also congratulated the increasing numbers of young people who were refusing to take up smoking, with figures from ASH showing an 18 per cent increase in the number of year 10 students who had never tried the drug in 2005 compared to 1999.

"These young people are realising that it's no longer 'cool' or clever to smoke, which shows that they are making informed and positive choices about their lives, which should be encouraged. Parents can also play a major part in their children not smoking by quitting or not smoking themselves, as ASH figures show young people whose parents smoke are more than twice as likely to smoke themselves, compared to those whose parents do not."

ENDS

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