More Taranaki teens rejecting tobacco

June 10, 2009

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia today released Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Year Ten Survey data showing that 63.9 percent of Taranaki Year Ten students have never smoked compared with 49.1 percent in 2004.

7.1 percent of Taranaki teens were identified as daily smokers in the 2004, improving to 4.2 percent in most recent results.

10.2 percent of Taranaki students identified as regular smokers (those who smoke daily, weekly or monthly smoking) compared with 15 percent in 2004.

Taranaki along with West Coast, Waitemata, Capital & Coast, Canterbury, South Canterbury and Otago District Health Boards have relatively low regular smoking rates of 10-11%. Auckland has the lowest percentage of regular smokers (8%) and the highest percentage of students who’ve never smoked (67%). District Health Boards with the highest regular youth smoking rates are Southland, Hawkes Bay, Northland, Tairawhiti, Mid Central and Wairarapa (15-22%).

ASH director, Ben Youdan said, “The decline in youth smoking has been a real success story, but we need to make sure these students stay never smokers for life,”

“The story of the ASH Year Ten Survey is one of long-term decline in youth smoking rates. However, we can not become complacent. The pressure needs to be kept on and more needs to be done to ensure these gains flow through to the adult smoking rates,” concluded Mr Youdan.

Notes to editors:

· The survey is conducted on behalf of Action on Smoking and Health, Health Sponsorship Council and the Ministry of Health.
· The survey takes an annual snapshot of smoking behaviour amongst Kiwi teenagers aged 14- 15 and was in the field in 2008.
· To maintain confidentiality, teachers did not examine the surveys for completeness
· Respondents who answered no to both “Have you ever smoked a cigarette, even just a few puffs?” and “How often do you smoke now” are classified as ‘never smokers’, those who answered yes to the first question and no to the second were classified as experimenters.

For more information contact:

Michael Colhoun
Communications Manager
ASH NZ: 09 520 8424 or 021 106 0625

Tamara Higgs
Taranaki DHB health promoter
Ph. 06 753 6139

Last updated: Monday, June 8, 2009

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