8% of Year 10 students smoke

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 13:05 03/04/2014

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More than 8 per cent of 14 and 15 year olds in Canterbury are regular smokers, a survey has found.

Nearly 28,000 students, including 3776 with the Canterbury District Health Board, were questioned about their smoking habits by the group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in 2013.

ASH spokesman Michael Colhoun said while smoking was still prevalent, the teen smoking figures were a continuation of an overall downward trend.

But the variation between regions was concerning.

''There is still an inequality gap there in areas of deprivation.''

While the data did not identify why smoking was higher in different regions, he believed socioeconomic status was likely.

However there was no indication the effects of the earthquakes had anything to do with higher regular smoking habits in Canterbury.

Daily smoking among teens in the region was 3.15 per cent, which is about the national daily smoking average in the age group.

However, the Hutt Valley region showed a daily teen smoking habit of 5.2 per cent, and anything above 5 per cent was too high, he said. Tairawhiti, Wairarapa and Whanganui were also high.

But it ''doesn't have to be a daily thing for it to be harmful or addictive'', Colhoun said.

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- The Press

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