24 Jul 2013

Big drop in tobacco smokers on Niue

6:59 am on 24 July 2013

It's believed Niue is well on its way to achieving the goal of becoming smoke free by 2025 after a survey found a significant drop in smoking rates.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community's non-communicable disease advisor, Jeanie McKenzie, says everyone on the island aged 15 and over participated in the World Health Organisation survey in 2011.

Ms McKenzie says results just published show 11.6 percent of the population smokes tobacco, a considerable drop since a survey undertaken around 30 years ago found 58 percent of males and 17 percent of females smoked.

She says there are a number of reasons for the drop including the high price on tobacco products.

"The fact that their cigarettes cost about 14 dollars or so a pack, I think that would make them reasonably expensive by Niuean standards, they offer a quit smoking programme which is free, and probably the third area of importance is that they keep up a high level of public awareness about the dangers of tobacco smoking."

Jeanie McKenzie says Niue has one of the lowest daily smoking rates in the Pacific.