Teen smoking at lowest level
Hon Jenny Salesa
Minister of Health
EMBARGOED TILL 11.15AM
4 March 2019
New research showing a record low in smoking among New Zealand students and a decrease in the uptake of vaping was announced today by Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa in a speech to the Vaping Policy Forum at Parliament.
Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) has released its 2018 Year 10 Snapshot which surveyed almost 29,000 Year 10 students on their smoking behaviours and attitudes. The data shows just 1.9 per cent of Year 10 students smoke on a daily basis.
“This is the first time the rate has fallen below 2 per cent. That’s a dramatic drop from the 15.2 per cent of students twenty years ago who said they smoked on a daily basis,” says Jenny Salesa.
“More than 81 per cent of those surveyed haven’t smoked at all – not even a few puffs.
“The latest findings show the Government is making progress towards our Smokefree 2025 goal and delivering on our plan to build healthier communities and improve wellbeing.
“This is really good news but we still have more work to do to achieve equity amongst all New Zealand teenagers.
“Almost 6 per cent of Maori girls who took part in the survey tell us they smoke daily and while that rate has decreased, it’s still higher than the overall rate of 1.9%.
“That needs to change and the gaps need to close. The Government is absolutely committed to doing as much as it can to achieve our Smokefree 2025 goal.
“According to the ASH survey, 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.
“Only 0.5 per cent of students who have never smoked vape daily – a drop from 0.8 per cent in 2017.
“It is very important to me to that children continue to be protected from taking up smoking and vaping.
“I have recently announced amendments to the Smoke-free Environments Act to ban smoking in vehicles carrying children and to support smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives.
“I am also focussed on developing an action plan to achieve our Smokefree 2025 goal. It is my intention that a full suite of possible actions is considered, and that a draft action plan will be available for public consultation by the end of this year.”
Notes to Editors
ASH Year 10 Smoking Survey
About the Vaping Policy Forum
This is an inaugural policy forum on vaping and e-cigarettes held on 4 April 2019 at Parliament.
Approximately 100 people are expected to attend; attendees will include Public Health experts, stop smoking service providers, vape users, clinical organisations and the Ministry of Health.
The forum was organised in response to Government plans to improve access to vaping products, while protecting children from the risk associated with them.