Health

Smoking and vaping — Year 10

Almost all cigarette smoking begins before 18 years of age (on average, by 15 years of age in New Zealand) [12-16]. International evidence has found that virtually no progressions to daily smoking occur in adulthood [14,16].

Smoking causes more loss of health in New Zealand than any other risk factor [17] and up to two-thirds of regular smokers will die as a direct result of their smoking [18]. Smoking contributes to six of the eight leading causes of death worldwide (ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, and lung cancer) [19].

Reducing youth smoking initiation is a critical component of tobacco control strategies. Therefore, monitoring key patterns and trends in tobacco use among youth (as well as use of other new tobacco products) is critical to reducing the overall burden of tobacco-caused morbidity and mortality.

This indicator presents the proportion of Year 10 students (aged 14 or 15 years) who are daily smokers, in the Canterbury DHB region and for New Zealand overall. The indicator uses data from the ASH Year 10 Snapshot survey, part of the New Zealand Youth Tobacco Monitor. In addition, from 2015, the Snapshot survey has included questions about the frequency of use of e-cigarettes by Year 10 students. The proportion of Year 10 students who use e-cigarettes daily (daily vapers) has been incorporated into this indicator (2015-2019). Note that e-cigarettes may or may not contain nicotine.

The figure shows that the proportion of Year 10 students (aged 14 or 15 years) in the Canterbury DHB region who smoke every day has declined steadily over time. The decline in Canterbury was consistent with the national trend to 2015, before declining further to a statistically significantly lower level than the national figure in 2017 and 2018 (1.1% for Canterbury and 1.9% for New Zealand in 2018). However, the proportion of daily smokers in Canterbury then increased between 2018 and 2019 to a level similar to New Zealand (1.8% for Canterbury and 2.1% for New Zealand in 2019). By this measure, the proportion of Year 10 students (aged 14 or 15 years) in the Canterbury DHB region who smoke every day is low by international standards [19], although, these data suggest a possible upswing in youth smoking in New Zealand.

The figure also shows that the proportion of Year 10 students (aged 14 or 15 years) in the Canterbury DHB region who vape every day has increased statistically significantly from 1.1 percent in 2015 to 2.2 percent in 2019. The proportion of Year 10 students who vape every day has also increased statistically significantly for New Zealand overall, from 1.1 percent in 2015 to 3.1 percent in 2019. Further data points are required to ascertain any ongoing patterns or trends in youth smoking and vaping in New Zealand.

Data Sources

Source: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
Survey/data set: ASH Year 10 Snapshot survey to 2019. Custom data request for Canterbury DHB region.
Source data frequency: Annually. Note: The ASH 10 Year 10 Snapshot survey was not conducted in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 24/11/2020