Supporting young people to remain smokefree and vapefree
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.
However youth daily vaping rates have increased – including many young people who have never smoked cigarettes. There was a small but statistically significant increase in daily vaping (9.6 percent in 2021 to 10.1 percent in 2022) – and this was much smaller than in the previous few years.
A combination of factors contribute to young people take up smoking or vaping, including:
- Family smoking and vaping: A young person is more likely to start smoking or vaping if family members smoke or vape. If their parents quit, they are also more likely to quit.
- Access to tobacco and vaping products: Young people are more likely to take up smoking or vaping if they can afford to, and if products are easy to get.
- Advertising and promotion: Young people are easily influenced by advertising and seeing smoking or vaping in the media.
- Social groups: Young people who smoke or vape tend to hang out together. Teenagers are more likely to smoke or vape if their friends do.
- Parental rules: Ensuring that no-one smokes or vapes inside the home or in the car protects children and young people. It helps if parents who smoke or vape openly talk about concerns about their own habit.
- Social norms: It’s hard to be smokefree or vapefree if smoking and vaping is common or normal.
New youth vaping regulations now in place
New regulations to limit youth vaping came into effect on 21st September 2023.
- All vaping devices sold in New Zealand need to have removable batteries and child safety mechanisms.
- New specialist vape shops can not open within 300 metres of schools and marae.
- Only generic names that describe the flavours can be used, such as ‘orange’ or ‘berry.’
- The maximum concentration of nicotine allowed in single-use vapes is reduced to 20mg/mL. The maximum nicotine concentration is set at 28.5mg/mL for reusable vaping products that contain nicotine only in salt form.
The maximum nicotine levels to balance the need for sufficient nicotine to be an effective smoking cessation device, while limiting the risk of nicotine addiction especially for young people.
Let’s work to change the social acceptance of smoking and vaping
Creating smokefree and vapefree environments
One way to help achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal is to make more community spaces smokefree.
It’s illegal to smoke or vape in workplaces, hospitals and in or around the grounds of schools and early childhood centres.
Encouraging smokefree and vapefree parks, playgrounds and sports grounds can help stop children starting to smoke or vape. The average age for starting to smoke is around 14 years for Pakeha and around 11 years old for Māori tamariki.
Creating a smokefree and vapefree 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.
Let’s make our children the next generation of non-smokers.
Make smoking less appealing
Reducing access to and the appeal of cigarettes and vapes will lower the chances of a young person starting to smoke. The following current actions aim to reduce the appeal of smoking and vaping:
- plain packaging ensures that tobacco is not displayed in an attractive way;
- raising taxes to make tobacco less affordable;
- reducing the number of places where tobacco can be be sold (from 6000 to 600 outlets) – from July 2024;
- setting limits for the amount of nicotine in products to below an addictive level – from April 2025; and
- making it illegal for tobacco retailers to sell to those born after 1 January 2009 – from 1st January 2027.
Contact your local office for further information:
CANTERBURY, MID CANTERBURY AND CHATHAM ISLANDS
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Hine and Tāne chatbots for those on smoke-free journeys
Two digital tools are available for young tāne and wahine who want to stop smoking. TUA – Hine and Tāne chatbots are available 24/7 on Facebook Messenger, sending daily check-ins, tips and distractions to provide support through the first 30 days of stopping smoking.
The TUA website and social media pages also offer a wealth of mātauranga Māori to help whānau connect to themselves and te taiao (the natural environment). This includes knowledge of maramataka (the Māori lunar cycle), pūrākau (stories and legends), and karakia to empower them in their daily lives on their smoke-free journey.
The creation of the chatbots has been a collaborative effort involving many supporters, including passionate wāhine Māori.
Protect Your Breath youth vaping harm campaign
A campaign designed to get Aotearoa’s youth thinking about their vaping has started.
“The campaign’s desired effect is to get young people to think critically about their decisions to use vaping products. The great thing about this campaign is that it has been designed by youth for youth,” says Hayden McRobbie – Regional Director of the National Public Health Service.
Protect your Breath has been co-designed with the Hā Collective, a group of young people, schools and experts to explore ways to reduce the harms of youth vaping.
A website for parents has also been developed to support the campaign and provides resources supporting conversations with young people to make critical decisions about their use of vaping products.
Protect your Breath will aim to provoke conversations and encourage people to consider the impact of vaping on themselves and their communities.