22 Apr 2013

Young smokers getting tobacco from parents - study

10:20 pm on 22 April 2013

New research shows young smokers are getting most of their tobacco from their parents, with many buying cigarettes for their children to smoke.

The University of Otago study into how young New Zealanders obtained tobacco found they also share, steal and ask strangers for cigarettes.

The study looked at 66 current smokers aged between 15 and 17 from throughout the country.

Lead researcher Louise Marsh said many reported that they were bought cigarettes by their parents from age 12.

Ms Marsh said some young smokers go to desperate measures to get nicotine, including picking up cigarette butts from the ground, or doing jobs around the house in exchange for cigarettes.

The Cancer Society's tobacco control adviser said many adults are not aware of the social effect their smoking has on their children and the Health Ministry should target adult smokers who supply them with cigarettes.

Skye Kimura said it should also be made harder for adults to buy cigarettes.