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Youth smoking hits record low

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Health

01 March 2012 Media Statement

Youth smoking hits record low

The 2011 Year 10 ASH Smoking Survey results, released today, show a record drop in youth smoking – especially among Maori girls.

The overall rate of youth smoking has dropped one-and-a-half percent to 4.1% (from 5.5% in 2010), the largest drop in almost a decade.

The group making the biggest strides however were the 14-15 year old Maori females, historically the group with the highest rates of smoking. Their smoking rates have dropped dramatically from 16.3% in 2010, down to 11.3% in 2011.

“This is an outstanding result and I am so proud to see our rangatahi leading the way,” Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia comments.

“This is the biggest year-to-year decline in daily youth smoking since 2003. Smoking may have been a part of our past, but it’s not a part of their future,” Mrs Turia adds.

The 2011 survey results not only show that youth smoking is declining at unprecedented rates, but they also reveal a sharp increase in the number of those who have never smoked – from 64.3% in 2010, to 70.4% in 2011.

“This Government is serious about removing the threat of tobacco from our young people’s lives and these figures indicate our approach is working,” Mrs Turia adds.

“We have increased the tax on tobacco by 30% over 18 months, we are removing tobacco displays from our retail stores and now our young people are charting the course for a future without tobacco – they should be congratulated.”

“We aren’t there yet and we still have some work to do, but judging by our young people, we’re well on the way,” says Mrs Turia.

The Year 10 ASH Smoking Survey is conducted annually and is the largest survey of youth smoking in New Zealand. Full details of the 2011 results can be found at www.ash.org.nz.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:
• The survey is conducted on behalf of Action on Smoking and Health, the Health Sponsorship Council and the Ministry of Health
• The survey takes an annual snapshot of smoking behaviour of Kiwi teenagers aged 14-15 and was in the field during 2011
• 8.2% of students were regular smokers (daily, weekly or monthly) in 2011 down from 10% in 2010
• Daily smoking: Low-decile 9.6%, medium-decile 4.6%, high-decile 1.9%

ENDS


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