Record low in smoking among students

File photo.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board is thrilled “to see smoking rates are falling amongst young people”.

Action for Smokefree 2025 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 Associate Health Minister 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.

Jenny says almost six 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 per cent.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Population Health Portfolio Manager Sarah Stevenson says her and her staff are thrilled to see smoking rates are falling amongst young people.

“In keeping with maintaining this momentum on smoking reduction across all ages, the DHB has been revisiting its Smokefree strategy with a fresh approach.

“This is focussed on hearing the voices of all of our communities, smokers and non-smokers, of all ages, about the best way forward.”

Sarah says the BOPDHB are looking at a generational approach and the findings released are encouraging in showing that we are moving in the right direction.

She says key themes of the Smokefree strategy include reducing inequity for Maori and Pacific communities, wraparound support for Hapu Mama, encouraging positive role models for children, supporting people living with mental illness or poor health, and monitoring harm reduction tools such as vaping.

Jenny says that statistic needs to change and the gaps need to close, and the government is absolutely committed to doing as much as it can to achieve the 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.
Jenny says it is very important to her 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.”

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