18 Nov 2017

Huge drop in number of NZ teens smoking

1:50 pm on 18 November 2017

The smoking rate for teenagers has dropped by a third since last year, Ministry of Health figures reveal.

Quitline said this year only 8000 teenagers aged 15 to 17-year-olds are smoking, down from 12,000 last year. A decade ago there were 35,000 young people aged between 15 and 17 taking up the habit.

Stock photo

Stock photo Photo: 123RF

Quitline clinical director Sharryn Gannon said finally, the majority of young people are not picking up cigarettes.

She said it's creating "a new generation of 'never-smokers'."

Ms Gannon said the average smoker takes up the habit at age 14.

She said research suggests that if people can make it to age 25 without taking up smoking then it is likely they will never smoke.

Ms Gannon said the overall smoking rate has also decreased, including a five percent reduction for Maori men over the last two years.

She said the increasing cost of cigarettes and the choice of using e-cigarettes are also reasons why people are quitting the habit.

Each cigarette consumed will take an average of 11 minutes off your life, the average smoker consumes 650 cigarettes per year.

More than 700 people a week contact Quitline.

Quitline can be contacted anytime by calling 0800 778 778 or visiting www.quit.org.nz.

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