Smoking a drag, say Kiwi kids

  • 29/07/2017
Smoking - kids aren't into it, especially Māori and Pacific Island youngsters. Photo credit: Getty

A new study shows that young people are more likely to tell their friends to not smoke than they are to promote it.

Research by the University of Otago suggests over half of 14 and 15-year-olds in New Zealand have done something to discourage their peers from smoking.

The most common action is to tell their peers that it's bad for them, to stop, that they don't like it, and that it's a waste of money.

Less than 10 percent of those 14- and 15-year-olds surveyed did something to encourage smoking, typically by giving them a cigarette or offering to share one.

Almost 3000 year 10 students from 142 high schools around the country participated in the study.

The tobacco industry often uses the argument that smoking among young people is due to peer pressure, the study's lead researcher Dr Louise Marsh says.

Those who discouraged smoking were more likely to use anti-smoking messages learned at school, smokefree events and smokefree adverts.

"This is positive in that it indicates the spreading of smokefree messages throughout the community might influence young peoples' desire to be 'agents of change', and to spread their own smokefree messages," Dr Marsh says.

Māori and Pacific youths were found to be more likely to discourage smoking than young people from other ethnicities, which Dr Marsh says is encouraging.