In Niue 35.7 percent of teenagers vape while 17.7 percent smoke cigarettes

May 31st is World No-Tobacco Day, a day when health officials call on the public to take heed of the warnings over smoking and the consumption of tobacco products and the World Health Organisation (WHO) call on countries and leaders to make responsible decisions to save the lives of people at risk of dying because of their tobacco and smoking habits.

In Niue, a survey conducted in 2019 of teenagers 13-15 year olds found that 35.7 percent of students use e-cigarettes and 17.7 percent of these young people smoked cigarettes.

The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Social Services as part of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey targeting 13-15 year olds where 68 students in Niue participated in the survey or 77 percent response rate.

According to the findings of this survey 20.6 percent of the students who currently smoked cigarettes bought the cigarettes from the shop and among these students, being under-age was not an issue because 78.8 percent of the students said they were not prevented from buying cigarettes because of their age.

Use of e-cigarettes or vapes is a growing issue in the community with the increasing number of young people taking up the habit.

Students of Niue High School have been suspended when caught vaping inside school grounds. BCN News have covered stories about the growing incidents of young people vaping.

According to the WHO more than 1 million hectares of land is used to grow tobacco in the Western Pacific region, a crop that kills more than 3 million people in the region every year.  

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Acting Regional Director for the Western Pacific is calling on countries to end tobacco growing subsidies.

“I call on leaders to end tobacco growing subsidies and support tobacco farmers to switch to crops that improve food security and nutrition, enabling them to grow sustainable and nutritious crops.”

In a Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) survey conducted in 2021 found that Wallis and Futuna leads the Pacific nations in terms of household expenditure on tobacco at 4 percent, followed by Kiribati with 3.4 percent , Vanuatu households spend 1.5 percent of their income on tobacco and in Tonga, 1.43% of household expenditure is on tobacco.

Meanwhile according to the Public Health department, the last Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Survey which details smoking habits was conducted in 2013 where “15.8% of Men and 7.6% of women smoked daily with men starting smoking at age 17.7 % years and women starting at age 22.4 years.”

Today the Public Health division of the Health Department announced a poetry competition for young people and adults.

Niue Public Health poetry competition on Say NO to vaping

The competition theme is “Say NO to vaping” entries in four categories for Niue Primary School, Niue High School, Community and Businesses. The competition will close at midday on Wednesday next week June 7th

In Niue the cost of a packet of cigarettes ranges from NZ$28 to $35 but there is no law to prohibit young people from purchasing tobacco products. Vapes and accessories like oils are not sold at stores but many people bring their products from overseas.

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