Cigarette smoking rates in New Zealand have dropped for another year, but more needs to be done if the country is to become smokefree by 2025, according to an anti-smoking advocacy group.
According to the latest data from the New Zealand Health Survey daily smoking rates fell from 12.5% in 2018/19 to 11.6% in 2019/2020. But 460,000 New Zealanders still smoke cigarettes daily.
That's not enough to meet the smokefree by 2025 goal, according to anti-tobacco campaigners ASH.
“We need a much more dramatic decline in cigarette smoking rates, ASH NZ Action for Smokefree 2025 Director, Deborah Hart said.
"Helping Māori, Pacific and low socio-economic groups to quit will have the greatest impact in reducing inequality and ensuring we meet the Smokefree 2025 goal."
AHS NZ believes a positive in the report is that daily smoking rates from 15-24-year olds have almost halved in 10 years with just one in ten now smoking daily.
With cigarette smoking being the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, Hart says, “The most practical ways to get close to, or even achieve, the goal is to immediately invest in mass media, support communities with culturally appropriate and scaled-up initiatives and encourage less harmful alternatives, such as vaping.”