Supporting young people to remain smokefree
If we can support young people to be smokefree, they are likely to remain smokefree for life. This is since very few people take up smoking after they reach their 20s.
Young people are leading the way to a Smokefree Aotearoa with around three-quarters of young people never having had a puff of tobacco – 78.6 percent in 2015 compared to 33 percent in 2000.
There are a combination of factors involved in why young people take up smoking, including:
- Family smoking: A young person is 7 times more likely to start smoking if both parents smoke. If their parents quit, they are also more likely to quit.
- Access to tobacco products: Young people are more likely to take up smoking if they can afford to, and if cigarettes are easy to get.
- Tobacco advertising and promotion: Young people are easily influenced by advertising and seeing celebrities smoking.
- Social groups: Young people who smoke tend to hang out together. Teenagers are more likely to smoke if their friends smoke.
- Parental rules: Ensuring that no-one smokes inside the home or in the car protects children and young people. It helps if parents who smoke openly talk about concerns about their own smoking habit.
- Social norms: It’s hard to be smokefree if smoking is common or normal.
Let’s work to change the social acceptance of smoking
Creating smokefree environments
It’s illegal to smoke in or around the grounds of workplaces, hospitals, schools and early childhood centres.
Creating a smokefree culture
Parents and caregivers are powerful role models. Kids copy what they see so supporting parents and caregivers to quit is an important part of developing a smokefree culture.
Make smoking less appealing
Reducing access to and the appeal of cigarettes will lower the chances of a young person starting to smoke. The following are two key effective actions to reduce the appeal of smoking:
- plain packaging ensures that tobacco is not displayed in an attractive way; and
- raising taxes to make tobacco less affordable.