Results from the ASH year 10 smoking survey show that in 2017 fewer than 2% of Year 10 students use e-cigarettes daily.
Students who smoke daily were more than 25 times more likely to use e-cigarettes daily than never smokers. Fewer than 1% of never smokers used e-cigarettes daily.
The survey, of nearly 27,000 students, is the largest dedicated survey of tobacco use in New Zealand. E-cigarette use, or vaping, was including in the survey for the first time in 2015. Since 2015 daily e-cigarette use has increased from 1% of students.
ASH programme Manager, Boyd Broughton said: ‘E-cigarette use by Year 10 students is increasing, but slowly and largely confined to students who already smoke. E-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of tobacco, and if they can help divert teen smokers from a lifelong addiction to cigarettes than this is an encouraging trend’.
The survey also looked at experimentation with vaping. Almost 1 in 3 had tried at least a single puff on an e-cigarette. Daily smokers were most likely to have tried vaping, with over 90% having tried an e-cigarette. Students who had never smoked were least likely to experiment.
Broughton said, ‘There is a huge moral panic about young people taking up vaping, and even going on to smoke. These results don’t support that at all. Never smokers might try a puff on a friend’s e-cigarette, but they are very unlikely to become a daily user. Young people take risks, and whilst we can never stop experimentation altogether, trying an e-cigarette is a much better option that trying a cigarette, and one that appears less likely to lead to smoking’.
‘The fact that over 90% of Year 10 smokers have tried vaping is actually quite encouraging, and it would appear that much like adult smokers, teen smokers appear to be looking for a way out of tobacco and e-cigarettes may well be an option for them. However vaping by young people must be continuously monitored with the focus remaining on less young people smoking’ added Broughton.
Broughton concluded; ‘E-cigarettes are disrupting tobacco smoking for adults and young people. They have a role in getting New Zealand to Smokefree 2025. However, they are currently in regulatory limbo with regard to what goes into them, how they are sold and where they can be used. A year into the new Government, we’ve seen little movement to progress Smokefree 2025, and sensible harm-proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes is an easy win for health’.
The survey results can be found on the ASH year 10 survey page.