16th December 2016, Volume 129 Number 1447

Danny Tu, Rhiannon Newcombe, Richard Edwards, Darren Walton

Tobacco smoking remains a major preventable cause of mortality and morbidity in New Zealand.1 One component of a comprehensive tobacco control programme is robust monitoring of tobacco use at a…

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Summary

In this study we described the smoking prevalence by key socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, education, labour status, income and socioeconomic deprivation) in New Zealand in 2013, and make comparisons with 2006. Data on cigarette smoking and key socio-demographics variables were obtained from the 2013 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings. The findings suggest that the decline in smoking prevalence is accelerating in New Zealand, including among high priority groups like Māori, Pacific peoples and young adults.

Abstract

Aim

To describe the smoking prevalence by key socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, education, labour status, income and socioeconomic deprivation) in New Zealand in 2013 and make comparisons with 2006.

Method

Data on cigarette smoking and key socio-demographics variables were obtained from the 2013 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings. Age standardised smoking prevalence rates were calculated by gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic deprivation using the WHO Population Standard. Results were compared against 2006 Census data to identify changes in smoking prevalence.

Results

In 2013, around one in seven (15.1%) of New Zealand adults aged 15 years and older reported that they were regular smokers (smoked one or more cigarettes per day), a 5.6% absolute decrease in the smoking prevalence since the previous Census in 2006. The number of regular adult smokers dropped from 597,792 in 2006 to 463,194 in 2013, a 22.5% decrease. Falls in smoking prevalence occurred among all demographic sub-groups, including Māori and young adults. There were substantial disparities in smoking by age, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Māori continue to have the highest age-standardised smoking prevalence (32.4%), with the highest prevalence (43.1%) among young Māori women aged 25 to 29 years. Decreases in smoking prevalence were greater between 2006 and 2013 than between 1996 and 2006.

Conclusion

The findings suggest that the decline in smoking prevalence is accelerating in New Zealand, including among high priority groups like Māori, Pacific peoples and young adults. This study confirms the value of census data for understanding patterns of tobacco use in New Zealand, to inform effective intervention development and monitoring progress towards the Smokefree 2025 goal.

Author Information

Danny Tu, Policy, Research and Advice, Health Promotion Agency, Wellington; Rhiannon Newcombe, Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin; Richard Edwards, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington; Darren Walton, Psychology Department, University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Acknowledgements

We thank the New Zealand Census participants and Statistics New Zealand for managing the Census.

Correspondence

Danny Tu, Policy, Research and Advice, Health Promotion Agency, PO Box 2142, Wellington 6140.

Correspondence Email

danny.tu@education.govt.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

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