General news

New research shows young people in Aotearoa New Zealand strongly support smokefree measures suggesting the government’s plan to repeal the smokefree laws flies in the face of public opinion. 

Young people in Aotearoa aged 16-29 overwhelmingly support the Smokefree 2025 Goal and the three key measures the new government is set to abandon.

In the latest briefing from the Public Health Communication Centre, University of Otago researchers lay out the findings of research conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand for the first time as part of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Youth and Young Adult Tobacco and Vaping Survey. 

Co author Dr Jude Ball says the survey shows 78% of young people support major reductions in tobacco retail outlet numbers, while 68% support a law requiring manufacturers to take the nicotine out of smoked tobacco products. She says the smokefree generation policy has the strongest support of the three measures, with 79% in support.

Even the majority of the young people who smoke support all three polices according to Dr Ball.  “This fits in with previous research both here and overseas which shows the large majority of people who smoke regret starting (smoking) and most want to quit.” 

“The majority of young people who smoke indicated that they would cut down or quit entirely if the smokefree laws were implemented. An example of that is two out of three teens who smoke say they would cut down or quit if the number of retailers selling smoked tobacco products was greatly reduced,” says Dr Ball.

Dr Ball says the take home message for the government is most young people welcome restrictions on the availability and addictiveness of tobacco, regardless of their smoking status. “We  urge the government  to listen to the New Zealand public and retain  he world- leading smokefree legislation.”

The study report is available here.

Note: The ITC survey was conducted in August/September 2023 before the new coalition government was elected and the repeal of the smokefree legislation was announced.