Youth regular vaping decreases for 2nd year in a row in ASH Year 10 survey, daily smoking remains very low

Press Release


The proportion of Year 10 students (14-15 years of age) vaping regularly has decreased significantly for the second year running in the annual ASH survey of Kiwi youth, dropping by almost 2 percent (18.2% in 2022, 16.4% in 2023).

ASH says it’s also very encouraging to see youth daily vaping rates not increasing, now plateauing at 10% and the number who have ever tried vaping also showed a significant decrease (40.1% to 37.5%).

ASH Director Ben Youdan says, “Aotearoa was very slow to regulate vaping, and we saw a rapid rise in youth use in the years up until 2021 but then we finally had some legislation put in place. Two years later, whilst the rate of youth use is still too high,  it is good to see that fewer young people are vaping, and experimenting with vapes.”

“Regular” use is defined as using either daily, weekly or monthly, “Daily” use is using at least once a day, while “Ever tried” measures overall experimental use and current users.

With youth smoking, ASH is pleased that daily rates have shown no increase, staying stable at only 1.2% which amounts to only around 700 students across the country.

ASH says it’s also reassuring to see the numbers of those who have never tried a cigarette continuing to increase at a significant rate, reaching 87.8% compared to 85.8% last year.

“Young people are clearly rejecting tobacco, and these trends are echoed in the smoking data for young adults who have seen some of the biggest declines in smoking across the motu in recent years,” Mr Youdan says.

ASH is also delighted to see an almost 4% increase in Māori youth never smoking rates (73.8% to 77.7%) and in particular an almost 6% increase never smoking by Māori girls (71% to 76.8%).

The vaping rates of Māori girls though, tell a more concerning story with this cohort vaping more than 2.5 times the average rate (almost 25% more).

ASH Board Member and head of the Māori SUDI prevention service, Fay Selby-Law says, “It is encouraging to see fewer Māori tamariki then ever smoking, and especially the jump in young wāhine who have never smoked. This follows the large recent declines in smoking amoung adults. However, there are still significant disparities, especially with vaping. Although vapes appear to be helping many adults stop smoking, we still need to be doing much more to keep them out of the hands of young people.”

While the survey found that generally daily smoking and vaping rates for most ethnicities and genders remained low and similar to last year, ASH says more urgent work is needed with Pacific teenagers. Their vaping rates are still slowly trending up, while their decline in smoking is slower than any other ethnicity.

ASH Board Member Sir Collin Tukuitonga says, “Despite gains in reducing smoking for almost all groups, progress remains far too slow for Pasifika, including preventing the uptake of vaping. It really reinforces why there is still a huge need for Pasifika led approaches that understand and work with our diverse communities on keeping youth smoking low, and reversing the rise of teen vaping.”

ASH’s Ben Youdan says that this year’s survey is some good news for our youth, “Even though there is widespread frustration about the repeals, we should celebrate the fact that overall young people are actually one step ahead of the policymakers, and rejecting smoking in greater numbers than ever.” 




Survey Background: 

This year 29,260 students from schools from across the motu took part in the 24th ASH Year 10 Survey. 310 Schools agreed to take part.

The survey is one of the largest and longest running surveys of youth tobacco and vaping behaviors and attitudes in the world, and the largest smoking survey in Aotearoa after the Census. It has run annually since 1999, with the exception of 2020, which was cancelled because of COVID-19. In 1999 it found 15.6% of Year 10 students smoked cigarettes daily. 

Since 1999 more than 690,000  year ten students have answered questions on smoking, and more than 240,000 have answered questions on vaping since it was first included in the survey in 2014. 

The topline ASH Year 10 Snapshot Survey 2023 results can be found here.   

Notes for editors:

  • The ASH Year 10 Survey uses robust and validated measures. It is conducted to a high methodological standard that has been subject to peer review and ethics approval. It is funded through Te Whatu Ora by the Ministry of Health.
  • Schools that participate are given valuable data to help them deal with youth smoking and vaping in their school.
  • For more resources on youth vaping for young people, school and parents visit:
  • Te Whatu Ora campaign and web resource with insights and viewpoints from young people to help discuss vaping.
  • New Zealand Drug Foundation Tūturu service programme was created to help schools and health services better support all students
  • ASH factsheet on the evidence around young people and vaping

Smoking facts:

  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Aotearoa New Zealand, causing around than 5,000 deaths every year – that’s 14 lives lost every day.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable health inequities being responsible for up to two years of the life expectancy gap experienced by Māori.
  • In 2021/22 around one in 12 (8%) of adults smoked cigarettes daily, but this rose to one in five (19.9%) among Māori.
  • People smoke cigarettes for the nicotine but die from the smoke from burning tobacco.
  • Cigarette smoking imposes huge financial and health burdens on the poorest New Zealanders: in the poorest fifth of the population, one in four adults smoke.
  • Vaping facts:
  • In 2021/22 around one in 12 (8.3%) of adults vaped daily, but this rose to one in five (17.6%) among Māori.
  • Vaping delivers a vapour composed mostly of propylene glycol (also used in asthma inhalers) and flavouring agents. Some, but not all, contain nicotine.
  • Vaping is a harm reduction tool for those who are smoking. It is helping thousands of New Zealanders to stop smoking.
  • Manatū Hauora data reports that among daily vapers aged 25 or older, nearly all were ex-smokers (64%) or current smokers (26%).
  • Among daily vapers aged 18–24, 33% were ex-smokers, 21% were current smokers (dual users), and 37% were never-smokers (based on pooled data for 2020/21 and 2021/22).
  • This does not mean vaping is risk free, particularly for young people and those who have never smoked. They should not start.

For more comment or questions please don’t hesitate in contacting us:

  • ASH Chair Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole – 021 024 98065
  • ASH Director Ben Youdan – 021 247 3027

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