Daily smoking rates for Pacific youth at a record low of less than 2%
Updates / News, 2 Dec 22
There has been a positive shift for Pasifika youth as daily smoking rates lower to less than two percent for the first time ever since Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) began conducting the annual ASH Year 10 Survey across the country – a record low for the Pacific community in New Zealand.

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Group Board Director and strong advocate for Māori and Pacific health, Sir Collin Tukuitonga KNZM FNZCPHM, is proud of this impactful shift in the community.

“These statistics are the lowest we have ever seen and it is a huge achievement for our Pacific youth in New Zealand.

With the current smoking rate sitting at two percent, this means that roughly one to two out of one hundred Pacific youth are smoking cigarettes - a third of what it used to be in previous times.”

Each year, ASH conducts a national survey with Year 10 students (14 – 15 years of age) on their smoking and vaping behaviours and attitudes. It is one of the largest ongoing youth smoking surveys in the world, with 29,538 students participating in 2022.

The survey found that only 1.2% of Pacific Year 10 students are smoking daily (a decrease from 5.3%), and 2.6% are smoking regularly (a decrease from 5.3%).

Tukuitonga, who also sits on the board for ASH, believes that the cause for this significant and positive drop is due to the educational message that the country has been promoting for many years.

“These results are a reflection of years of information promoting that smoking is not cool. Youth are in a tender stage of life where they are trying to find themselves and are conscious of their outward appearances.

These educational efforts, and likely the rise of cigarette prices, have contributed to the results we now have. We’ll take the successes for what they are, as we have come a long way to get to where we are today.”

Tukuitonga shares the importance of finding ways to maintain and uphold these positive outcomes as a community.

“I suggest we continue the on-going message. Smoking is not cool and prices are not sustainable. Let’s put more support into positive recreational activities for our youth to keep them on positive pathways. Sports and activities that interest them is where our support and energy need to go to maintain this uphill positive shift.”

You can read the ASH Year 10 Survey results here.

Date: 2 December 2022