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Minister welcomes Census figures showing decline in smoking

Corrected 5.30pm

Hon Tariana Turia

Associate Minister Health

10 December 2013 Media Release

Minister welcomes Census 2013 figures showing a huge decline in smoking

Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia is extremely pleased at the 2013 Census results that show that the number of smokers in New Zealand has dropped by nearly a quarter since the 2006 Census. Statistics New Zealand released the results today which also show that smoking prevalence amongst Maori has dropped from 42.2% in 2006 to 32.7% in 2013. The total number of adults smokers in New Zealand numbers 463,000 representing a drop of 23% from 598,000 at Census 2006. There are now 702,000 people who say they have given up smoking.

“This is great news. I am particularly pleased that smoking prevalence amongst Maori has declined by almost 22.5%. I would like to congratulate the smokefree sector for their absolute commitment to support smokers to quit and to educate our communities about the negative effects tobacco has on our health. The collaborative efforts of the smoke-free sector and government legislation including increases in excise tax and soon, the introduction of plain packaging will assist us to get to our goal of a Smokefree country by 2025,” says Minister Turia.

“I want to particularly congratulate the Wainuiomata community who have worked hard to reduce smoking in cars particularly where children and babies are present. A recent Otago University report on their ‘Smokefree Cars – That’s How We Roll’ Campaign shows that they have reduced smoking in cars carrying passengers by 12%. We know the damage that second hand smoke can cause. Around 5000 people die each year as a result of tobacco smoking, including 350 innocent New Zealanders who die as a result of second hand smoke. So eliminating smoking in cars should be a top priority.”

“While these results today are significant we cannot afford to be complacent. 463,000 adult smokers is still far too many. Quitting is hard as every smoker will tell you so we should focus on educating our rangatahi so that they are not tempted to take up the habit as well as providing support and incentives for smokers to stop. We have 12 more years to reach our goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, and when we do, that will be a wonderful milestone to celebrate.”

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