The Government has announced that the percentage of kiwi adults who smoke has fallen to 19.9%. The number of daily smokers is down from 25.2% of the adult population in 1996 to 18.7%. 150,000 people have given up in the last four years alone.
The really good news is that the number of teenagers who are taking up smoking is quickly falling away. 12.8% smoke now, down from 28.6% in 1999. That means the rate of smoking is likely to continuing falling quickly in the future.
Smoking is a burden on our society not just in terms of health dollars, but also in quality of life and productivity. Initiatives like the ban on smoking in bars have gone a long way towards reducing that burden.
Maori Smokefree Coalition director Shane Bradbrook sums it up: “The only group hurting over this positive result will be the tobacco industry.”