Associate Minister of Health, Hon Tariana Turia, has welcomed the latest Year 10 (14-15 year olds) smoking prevalence data for 2010 released by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
”The overall results are pleasing – in particular that daily smoking by Year 10 students is down to 5.5%”.
“While that is only a very small decline from 2009 (0.1%) I think we have to focus on the positive – that is, that it is still a decline, no matter how minimal” said Mrs Turia.
“Regular (daily or weekly or monthly smoking) fell from 10.9% in 2009 to 10% in 2010 pointing to a decline in the number of occasional smokers.
“I am absolutely rapt that there has been such a significant decline in regular smoking among Māori students - from 23.3% in 2009 to 20.9% in 2010” said Mrs Turia.
“We still have a long way to go to ensure that we lower smoking rates among Māori students and I am hopeful that the various measures we have introduced will assist us in such an important goal”.
“It is vital that we monitor our progress in reducing youth smoking".
“Earlier this year the Government adopted the policy of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025 and consideration is being given to the strategies and proactive interventions that will get us there. Reducing smoking uptake among young people will be crucial if we are to achieve this goal” said Mrs Turia.
“The Bill that is currently before the House to remove tobacco from display will help to make progress in discouraging smoking uptake, as will the work we are doing to investigate plain packaging [Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill].