It is enormously challenging for a current smoker to quit so early intervention is hugely important in achieving a smoke free New Zealand. Studies have shown that two-thirds of New Zealanders expressed regret at having started.[i] A priority for ASH is to influence policies, particularly around standardised packaging and tobacco retail licencing, which will protect children from this addiction.
Contributing to this objective is the ASH Year 10 Snapshot Survey. This is one of the largest youth smoking surveys in the world. It is a census style questionnaire that surveys around 30,000 students every year on their smoking behaviour and attitudes. It forms part of the New Zealand Youth Tobacco Monitor alongside the Youth Insights Survey (click here to read about this survey).
In May 2015, we completed our 17th annual ASH Year 10 Snapshot Survey. The results are being disseminated to national policy makers and health governing bodies across New Zealand. We have also collated the statistics into useful factsheets which have been released to the tobacco control and larger health sector. These factsheets provide health professionals and smoke free workers with a concise overview of the latest information on youth smoking in the country. ASH has informed the general public of the key findings through national media coverage which has included the New Zealand Herald, Newstalk ZB, Radio New Zealand and a range of local newspapers.
ASH is now collaborating with researchers from New Zealand’s leading universities to conduct further studies on youth attitudes and exposure to emerging issues like electronic cigarettes, plain packaging of tobacco products and tobacco retail density around schools.
[i] Edward R, Wilson N, Weerasekera D, Peace J, Thomson G, Young D, Gifford H, Newcombe R. (2010) Occasional Report: Attitudes towards the tobacco industry and support for tobacco regulation in New Zealand: National survey data. Department of Public Health, University of Otago: Wellington, New Zealand http://www.wnmeds.ac.nz/itcproject.html