Findings from the Youth19 vaping survey published in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health last December, reported that 80% of the minors who have ever vaped and almost 50% of the regular vapers, had never smoked a cigarette before they started vaping.

“The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation (ARFNZ) has been speaking out on the rise in teen vaping since 2017,” says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding. “The Youth19 research offers yet more evidence that this is a problem. While vapes can be a helpful tool for smokers trying to quit when combined with behavioural support, many children and young people are picking up a vape having never smoked a cigarette. Vapes are not without harm, and can be highly addictive. Many studies are now available that show the negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development.”

However a survey carried out by the Ministry of Health in December, highlighted that the situation is more positive than is being led on as the increase in vaping is leading to a decrease in smoking rates, with smoking dropping from 11.9% in the 2019-2020 survey to 9.4% in 2021.

Smoking rates among Maori students dropped by 40%

More importantly, the decline in smoking rates was recorded among students of all ethnicities, however Māori students led the way with a 40% drop. This figure is very significant given that smoking has been a problem predominantly among the Maori population.

ASH Director Deborah Hart added that these results together with other ones from recent years, indicate that teenagers have already reached the Smokefree 2025 goal of less than 5% daily smokers. “We are delighted at this result because smoking kills 5000 Kiwis every year.”

She added that another study has shown similar figures. “The Survey results are consistent with trends in young adults shown by the 2021 NZ Health Survey. This is the biggest fall in youth smoking rates in a decade, and it’s extremely encouraging to see young people leading the progress towards a smoke free Aotearoa,” Hart said.

Read Further: 1news

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