The Ministry of Health has published the latest data from the NZ Health Survey. Once again good news in that overall rates are declining, but it also shows a more targeted approach is needed.
The overall smoking rate (current smokers) is down to 14.2%, Down 0.7% from a year ago and has dropped by almost a third over the last 12 years.
The youth rate has increased slightly from 3.6% to 3.8% but this is still a decrease of three quarters from 2006. That is a major victory.
The big challenge now is the Maori and Pasifika rates. Both went up this year and the Maori rate has only dropped by one fifth over 12 years and the Pasifika rate by one tenth. This suggests a very different and targeted approach is needed, not just putting up taxes.