Assessing an ASH Year 10 survey of 27,083 students aged 14 and 15, University of Auckland researchers found that only 0.8% of the participants were daily vapers who’d never smoked before. Additionally, 3.1% of the respondents said they vaped daily, and 37.3% said they had tried it.
To this effect, concluded the researchers, there is no evidence of a teen vaping epidemic in New Zealand. “Our findings do not support the notion of a so-called vaping epidemic in New Zealand or a large youth population dependent on vaping – a finding consistent with the scarce international evidence.”
Commenting about these findings, spokesperson for VTANZ Ben Pryor, pointed out that these findings confirm that vaping remains mostly common amongst former smokers. “The survey confirms youth vaping rates remain very low and that vaping remains largely confined to smokers. In fact, of the few students who do vape, three out of four were smokers. What’s more, while experimentation may be up, with over a third trying vaping, very very few carry it on,” he said.
Policy should be informed by reliable data
Pryor added that ASH chairman Professor Robert Beaglehole must be acknowledged for his work in ensuring that vaping is supported and regulated as a smoking cessation tool. “This is one of the biggest surveys conducted in New Zealand every year, and anti-vapers have been saying these numbers would prove shocking. Well once again they are wrong. Researchers have confirmed the so-called youth vaping epidemic doesn’t actually exist. So, we’re asking the Government to closely review the survey’s findings before it starts meddling with adult smokers’ best chance of quitting cigarettes for good.”