According to a new study, data released by the Tobacco Free Action 2025 (ASH) shows Māori teenagers have the highest rate of daily e-cigarette use at 19.1 per cent, nearly 9 percentage points higher than Pacific Islander students and higher than Paki Kazakh students are 11.3 percentage points higher.
Overall, daily e-cigarette use among teens tripled, from 3.1% to 9.6%
Conversely, the percentage of teens who smoke daily dropped from 2% in 2019 to 1.3% in 2021.
“Every day vaping is likely to be what it was 20 years ago,” said Ben Youdan, ASH policy advisor. “We’ve seen smoking rates plateau for a long time.”
The data is the result of ASH’s annual 10-year snapshot survey, which asked about 30,000 teens between the ages of 14 and 15 about their experiences with smoking and vaping.
Research shows that 61% of 10th graders who vape daily have never smoked. Youdan said others may use e-cigarettes to help quit smoking, arguing that it is less harmful than smoking.
“We have a huge gap in New Zealand in providing kids with a good, consistent, reputable, safe source of information about what’s going on with vaping because they’re just bombarded with confusing information about vaping.”
However, he is well aware that ASH does consider e-cigarettes as a better alternative to smoking and as a tool to help people quit, referring to an independent review published by Public Health England in 2015 which estimated that e-cigarettes are more harmful than smoking 95% lower.
“The problem isn’t necessarily nicotine; the problem is smoking, because smoking kills people… Vaping has shortened the epidemic to a large extent,” Youdan said
The Smoke-Free Environments and Regulated Products (E-Cigarettes) Amendments of 2020 govern how e-cigarettes are sold and marketed. However, Youdan said there are limits to what this legislation can achieve, as research shows that students are getting e-cigarettes from their peers and adults.
“We need to have a more sophisticated conversation about where young people are vaping, what’s going on with this social phenomenon, and empower them with the skills to make informed decisions about not trying this stuff, not getting addicted to it.” Yodan said.
Cancer Society medical director George Lake said he would be surprised if there were long-term adverse health effects on vapers. However, he recommends vaping only as an alternative to smoking.
“If you smoke, the best thing you can do is stop. If you can’t stop, switch to vaping.”
“You can go from vaping to vaping, or you can go from vaping to vaping, because from a middleman’s perspective, it’s a way to get nicotine.”
He argues that public policy determines whether someone switches from vaping to smoking and vice versa.
He attributes the rise in e-cigarette use to having a lot to worry about.
“Will they have houses to live in? Will they have jobs? What will happen to climate change?”
Lekin argues that lowering the voting age could help more young people feel in control and less painful.
Post time: Apr-20-2022