By: Lucy Bennett

Youth smoking is at a record low level – but young Maori are still smoking at more than double the general youth smoking rate.

The ASH [Action for Smokefree 2025] 25th Year 10 smoking survey will be officially released by Health Minister David Clark at an event at Parliament hosted by ASH patron Helen Clark at 9am.

The 2017 results show daily smoking rates for Year 10 students at a record low of 2.1 per cent, with 82 per cent of Year 10 students having never even taken a puff of a cigarette, also a record.

But rates among Year 10 Maori are 5.3 per cent, following a pattern set in 1999 when the survey results began recording smoking rates among all Year 10 students and Maori separately.

The first survey was conducted in 1992, when the daily youth smoking rate was 11.5 per cent and on the rise. They peaked at 15.6 per cent in 1999 and have declined steadily ever since. The Maori youth smoking rate peaked in 2000 when it reached 31.1 per cent. It has also been declining since then.

‘Ten years ago, as Prime Minister I announced the results of the 2007 survey which were at a record low of 7.3 per cent at the time,” Clark said.

“Ten years on, I’m delighted to say that youth smoking has fallen even further to only 2.1 per cent. Whilst we still have some way to go, it is a credit to this survey that it has kept the pressure on successive governments to address youth smoking and been able to show them the results.

New Zealand has only has seven years left to achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal.

“We still have a long way to go, especially considering that Maori students are still twice as likely to smoke than non-Maori,” Clark said.

ASH chairman Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole, said that since the survey began, almost 600,000 New Zealanders had taken part.

“Year 10 smoking has dropped by two thirds in a decade. If we can achieve the same result for adult smoking, we will achieve our goal of Smokefree New Zealand by 2025,” Beaglehole said.

The ASH Year 10 Snapshot surveys 20,000-30,000 students every year on their smoking behaviour and attitudes – one of the largest youth smoking surveys in the world. This national survey forms part of the Ministry of Health’s public health monitoring programme.

The ASH Year 10 Snapshot is a census style survey – all New Zealand public and private schools with Year 10 students are invited to participate each year. The Snapshot began in 1992 and has been running annually since 1999.

Source: NZ Herald

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