Cigarette smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable
morbidity and mortality in New Zealand, leading to the premature
deaths of 4,500 to 5,000 New Zealanders every year. Around
10% of these are in the Canterbury area. Smoking has been
linked with a variety of poor health outcomes, including bronchial
disorders and a number of cancers.
In 2006, 19% of Christchurch residents aged 15 years and over
were regular cigarette smokers - down from 22% ten years
earlier. The proportion of adult smokers in Christchurch was
lower than for the country as a whole (21% in 2006, down from 24%
in 1996). Nationwide, the prevalence of smoking amongst Māori
and Pacific people is much higher than for the population as a
whole, at 45.4% and 31.4% respectively. Adults in lower
socio-economic groups also have higher smoking rates. Smoking
contributes significantly to the gap in life expectancy between
Māori and non-Māori, and between those living in the most-deprived
and the least-deprived areas.
Read the full
issue summary on smoking [PDF].