Wellington, Nov 17 (IANS) New Zealand’s smoking rate has fallen to a historic low of 8 per cent, down from 9.4 per cent a year ago, ahead of the country’s goal of being smoke-free by 2025, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday.
The number of people smoking fell by 56,000 over the past year, despite the pressures and stress of the pandemic, and smoking rates are now half of what they were 10 years ago, Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying.
“I’m really pleased to see the downward trend continue, especially given that other countries saw an uptick in their smoking rates during lockdowns,” she said.
Verrall added that the government’s stop-smoking services are more accessible, leading to more quit attempts, with roughly 84,000 people attempting to quit in the past 12 months.
However, about 8.3 per cent of adults are now vaping daily, increasing from 6.2 per cent in the past year, the survey shows.
The smoking rates are plummeting, and the country’s goal of being smoke-free by 2025 is within reach, Verrall said.
The smoke-free legislation is expected to be passed by the end of the year, which will decrease the number of retail outlets selling tobacco, drastically reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels and ensure that the next generation are never sold tobacco, she said.