Huge drop in number of NZ youth smoking

  • 18/11/2017
Huge drop in number of NZ youth smoking

New Zealand's smoking rate continues to fal,l with the biggest declines amongst 15 to 17-year-olds and Maori men, the New Zealand Health Survey reports.

The number of 15 to 17-year-olds smoking has fallen by 75 per cent in the past decade and with only 3.9 per cent of the age group smoking.

"We are finally seeing the majority of young people not taking up cigarettes, creating a new generation of 'never-smokers'," Quitline clinical director Sharryn Gannon says.

The average smoker takes up the habit at age 14 and research suggests that if people can make it to 25 years without taking up smoking then it is likely they will never smoke.

The number of Maori men who smoke has also dropped by five per cent in the past year, with just over a third of Maori men identifying as smokers.

The proposed government changes to make nicotine e-cigarettes legal for purchase in New Zealand will go through Parliament next year and could go a long way to assist those trying to quit.

Public Health England has found that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than traditional tobacco.