2 Jun 2011

Falling rate of teen smoking stalls

9:32 pm on 2 June 2011

The long-term trend of fewer teenagers taking up smoking appears to have stalled.

An annual survey by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) of year 10 high school students shows 5.5% reported smoking on a daily basis last year, a decrease of only 0.1% from the year before.

Daily smoking rates among 14- and 15-year-olds have steadily fallen by more than 60% since the survey began 11 years ago.

The survey also shows another 10% of students were regular smokers, while 64% had never smoked.

The proportion of Maori students smoking regularly fell by 2.5% to 21% - about double the general rate for year 10 students.

ASH director Ben Youdan hopes the information will spur more action on policies to reduce teenage smoking. He says most of the new government controls on tobacco are yet to kick in.