April 10, 2013
Funding cuts stall smoking progress
Anti-smoking group ASH is blaming government spending cuts in tobacco control and inadequate tax increases for a disappointing result in its latest youth smoking survey.
It found 4.1 percent of year 10 students smoked every day in 2013, the same as the previous year – and the first time in the survey's 14 years that daily youth smoking has not dropped.
There are strong ethnic and socioeconomic differences in youth smoking, with one in nine Māori students still smoking compared to one in 50 Pakeha and one in a hundred Asian students.
A student in a low decile school is five times more likely to be a daily smoker than one from a high decile school.
ASH Director Ben Youdan says strong messages are needed to keep the rates falling, and the biggest drops were in years with big tax increases.
The Government gave the Health Promotion Agency just $5.1 million for mass media campaigns last year, compared with $8.2 million spent getting out the non-smoking message in 2008.
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