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Drop in age of people quitting smoking

14 June 2007

MEDIA RELEASE

Drop in age of people quitting smoking

The age of people quitting smoking in New Zealand is dropping, according to new Quit Group research.

The study, published today in The New Zealand Medical Journal, looked at trends in the types of smokers calling the Quitline, a national free-phone smoking cessation service.

Researchers Judy Li and Michele Grigg found that between 2001 and 2005 there was a 67 percent increase in the proportion of callers under 25 years of age. Ms Grigg says they found callers have become younger over the five-year period and there was a noticeable increase in people aged 15 -19 years calling the Quitline.

“This finding backs up recently released research showing most young smokers regret taking up the habit.”

Ms Grigg says another factor is that young people may be affected by mass media quit campaigns, although these are not aimed at a youth audience.

The study also highlights an increase in the percentage of pregnant women calling the Quitline. Ms Grigg says the numbers are small but statistically significant.

“It is heartening to see a gradual decrease in the number of young women who are smoking and an increased number of pregnant callers to the Quitline.”

Other trends to emerge from the research include an increase in the proportion of Quitline callers smoking roll-your-own cigarettes and a 54 percent increase in the proportion of Pacific callers to the Quitline.

ENDS

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