Tobacco smoking

Why is this important for social statistics?

We measure smoking because of its negative effects on health. Smoking is a major risk factor for many cancers and for respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Smoking was one of the two leading modifiable risks to health in 2013 accounting for about 9% of all illness, disability and premature mortality (Ministry of Health 2016).

The Ministry of Health’s aim is that by 2018 an estimated 58,000 adults will have quit daily smoking, of which 27,000 will be Māori adults and 8,000 will be Pacific adults (Ministry of Health 2016).

Internationally, tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year, of whom more than 5 million are from direct tobacco use and more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke (OECD Factbook).

This indicator measures the proportion of the population, aged 15 years and over, who currently smoke tobacco. People are considered to be current smokers if they smoke at least monthly, and have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. Daily smokers smoke every day, and have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. This limits the indicator to people with established tobacco use (Ministry of Health 2016).

Downloadable file:

Excel icon. Tobacco smoking – tables (Excel, 3 sheets, 20kb)

Includes breakdowns by age group, ethnic group, and sex, for daily smokers and current smokers.

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