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September 27th, 2015:

Smoking rates fall and sales drop almost 4%

The tax on cigarettes has increased 10 percent annually since 2010.

Ministry of Health figures show the average adult consumption has dropped 6.3 percent a year since 2010.

Tobacco and cigarette sales dropped almost 4 percent between 2013 to 2014.

The Government has added 10 percent tax annually on cigarettes since 2010.

Chair of End Smoking NZ and Associate professor at Massey University, Marewa Glover, said the tax measure was behind the decline.

“We’re just thrilled because it does show the tax policy works for a start to encourage people to stop smoking, it’s hurting the tobacco industry sales year on year, with these figures coming out it gives the proof that we just need to continue with this tax increase each year and we’ll keep getting that drop.”

Ms Glover said while it was promising, more needed to be done if the Government wanted to reach its 2025 smokefree target.

School pupils ‘exposed to e-cigarettes’

More than half of secondary school pupils questioned in a study said they had been exposed to e-cigarette marketing.

The Scottish government-commissioned survey found 60% of pupils questioned had seen e-cigarettes for sale in shops, shopping centres or stalls.

About a quarter (26%) had seen outdoor poster adverts.

And 23% of the 2,016 11 to 18-year-olds questioned had seen or heard adverts on TV or radio in the past week.

Although 16% had used an e-cigarette, most had only tried them “once or twice”, the survey found.

Only 5% of pupils who had never smoked tobacco had tried e-cigarettes. Curiosity was the main driver for use, sometimes motivated by seeing a friend or family member trying them, the report found.

‘Less harmful’

The forthcoming Health Bill proposes a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, “proxy purchase” by adults for minors and restrictions on the marketing of the products.

Public health minister Maureen Watt said: “This is an extremely useful survey, that gives us one of the first good indications of young people’s awareness and experience of e-cigarettes.

“Of particular interest is the large number of children who are being exposed to marketing of these products.

“While more research is needed, e-cigarettes are almost certainly less harmful than tobacco and if people are using them as an aid to quit smoking that is a good thing.

“However, the Scottish Government does not believe that children should have access to them. This is the balance we are aiming for in our forthcoming Health Bill.

“We would consult with stakeholders to consider where exemptions might apply, such as at point of sale where.