Butting out

Written By: - Date published: 2:43 pm, May 30th, 2008 - 14 comments
Categories: health - Tags:

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.”

14 comments on “Butting out”

  1. Paul Williams 1

    Good news indeed. It’s hard to believe that less than one generation ago, smoking was commonplace. I’m not sure it will continue to reduce at the same rate however, although I agree the fact that teenagers are giving up is significant. My guess is that pretty soon the number will represent those hardcore smokers who’ll sadly not give up and so numbers will level out.

    This is largely what’s happened to motorcyclists. After years and years of all manner of policies discouraging motorcyclists, combined with cheaper and cheaper cars, the cohort still riding are largely impervious to all attempts at dissausion (that said, petrol at over $2 may actually increase numbers).

  2. gobsmacked 2

    And let’s not forget that many politicians were against smokefree legislation, either voting against, or tediously decrying the “Nanny state” (while carefully avoiding specifics or alternatives).

    e.g. “National’s political correctness eradicator, Wayne Mapp, is eyeing changes to the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants which he says is an example of the ‘nanny state’.” (NZ Herald, 29 October 2005).

    Note that they are not talking about changing the laws any more. No surprise there.

  3. Ari 3

    Sweet. It’s really inspiring to see how attitudes have changed on this. Every smoker I’ve talked to about it wants to quit. 🙂

  4. insider 4

    Tane’s hanging in there obdurately I note though

  5. Kerry 6

    SMoking related disease in Maori men and women is very high though, and young PAcific and Maori do smoke at hight rates. Maori women have the highest rates of lung cancer in the world

    We badly need to reduce the smoking rates in several populations, where the percentage who smoke is much higher than 19%

    But yes! Great news! And enouraging, because my perception is that many more young people and 30 soemthings are smoking than ever used to when I was classified as a young person.

  6. randal 7

    this is a free country and people shuld be allowd to do what they like without being persecuted by do gooders and social scientists who think thye know what is good for everybody and silly old people who think they know everything.

  7. kk 8

    does that include greater freedom of guns, or maybe greater freedom to discharge waste?

  8. Hopefully this will, combined with the smokefree workplaces legislation, begin to decrease the number of people getting lung cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses. We probably won’t see much impact on those stats for some years yet though I imagine, so I hope we won’t see any short-sighted thinking from future govts that overturn the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, arguing that the deaths haven’t reduced much. With these long-term illnesses, which can take years to manifest, of course it is going to take a long time to prove the benefits statistically.

    I’ve never smoked – watching my Nana get sick every winter and struggle every World Smokefree day to give up put me well off. For some the chemical addiction is too strong to break no matter how hard they try. I know some people who just gave up cold turkey and never went back, yet others have made many attempts to quit but always end up back puffing away again. Just in case I’m one of those who can’t quit I’ve not given it a go, and I don’t regret it.

    And isn’t it so much nicer to go out now that you don’t come home reeking of someone else’s cigarettes? Must be much better working in bars and restaurants now too.

  9. randal 10

    my apologies kerry…you are right. time to accept that this nation has a lot of bad habits.

  10. Lyn 11

    Seconding Julie, I’m sure the ban on smoking in pubs and bars is a huge part of this, and as an ex-waitress I’m really pleased that all the people who work in hospo can now add another 10 years to their life-expectancy…

  11. Julie 12

    Thanks Lyn, I used to work in a yacht club where they had the ridiculous smoking area thing going on – a rope that cordoned off the smokers from the non-smokers. Didn’t seem to keep the smoke in though.

  12. Only 5 years ago in a Barcelona we asked for a smoke-free table and the waiter obliged by simply removing the ashtray.

  13. Edosan 14

    Yes good news indeed, especially abou the amount of teenagers who aren’t taking it up, however, Steve, why did you have to use the word ‘productivity’ in the post. I can see it now, “give up something that adds a bit of enjoyment to your day so that you can be more productive!” There are plenty of good reasons to give up smoking. I don’t like that one so much.

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