Researchers conclude no youth vaping epidemic

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Extensive research shows cigarette use continues to fall among young Kiwi teenagers, and vaping is not being taken up by non-smoking youth despite scaremongering, says the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand.

University of Auckland researchers assessed data from an annual ASH, Action for Smokefree 2025, year 10 survey of 27,083 students aged 14 and 15. They found only 0.8 per cent were daily vapers who'd never smoked before, with just 3.1 per cent of all respondents saying they vaped daily, and 37.3 per cent saying they’d tried it.

The researchers concluded: ‘Our findings do not support the notion of a so-called vaping epidemic in New Zealand or a large youth population dependent on vaping - a finding consistent with the scarce international evidence.’

“The survey confirms youth vaping rates remain very low and that vaping remains largely confined to smokers.

“In fact, of the few students who do vape, three out of four were smokers. What’s more, while experimentation may be up, with over a third trying vaping, very, very few carry it on,” says Ben Pryor, spokesperson for VTANZ.

VTANZ acknowledges ASH chairman Professor Robert Beaglehole for his ongoing leadership and advocacy to the Government to encourage and support vaping, and not legislate against the safe and effective smoking cessation tool, Ben says.

“This is one of the biggest surveys conducted in New Zealand every year, and anti-vapers have been saying these numbers would prove shocking.

“Well once again they are wrong. Researchers have confirmed the so-called youth vaping epidemic doesn’t actually exist. So, we’re asking the Government to closely review the survey’s findings before it starts meddling with adult smokers’ best chance of quitting cigarettes for good.”

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says her goal is to introduce the Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill by the end of this parliamentary term. She has already indicated that the Government will restrict marketing and ban the most successful flavours for adults.

“Vaping needs quality manufacturing standards, clear advertising guidelines, and strict R18 enforcement. However, prohibiting flavours won’t make any difference to youth vaping rates. There remains no evidence, here or overseas, that flavours lead to youth vaping and vaping leads to smoking. This latest ASH survey completely reinforces that,” says Ben.

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