Susceptibility to smoking among 14 and 15-year-olds

Tobacco Smoking Youth New Zealand

To prevent adolescents from becoming smokers, it is essential to understand factors that cause them to become susceptible to smoking. Susceptibility to smoking is defined as those never smokers who appear to be less committed to not smoke in the future and/or when offered a cigarette by a friend.

This brief report presents key findings from the 2018 Youth Insights Survey on susceptibility to smoking among 14 and 15-year-olds. The authors estimate susceptibility to smoking among those who have never smoked and identify risk factors associated with susceptibility to smoking. They also examine trends in susceptibility and risk factors between 2012 and 2018.

Key findings:

  • In 2018, three in ten (30%) 14 and 15-year-old students who had never smoked (never smokers) were susceptible to smoking.
  • Of never smokers, both Māori and Pasifika students were more likely to be susceptible than non-Māori non-Pasifika students.
  • The proportion of susceptible students increased between 2012 and 2018 (22% to 30%).
  • The increase of susceptibility between 2012 and 2018 was seen for males and females, mid and high school decile groups, and Māori, Pasifika, and non-Māori non-Pasifika. 
  • Those more likely to be susceptible were those who:
    • had close friend(s) who smoked
    • noticed smoking in the media
    • did not have anti-smoking education at school/kura.
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