Researchers at the University of Auckland looked at data from a survey of more than 27,000 students aged 14 and 15, and found only 0.8 percent of them were regular vapers (at least daily) who’d never smoked before.
Just over a third (37.3 percent) of the students had tried vaping, compared to 19.6 percent who’d tried traditional cigarettes. Daily e-cigarettes use is more widespread than smoking – 3.1 percent to 2.1 percent.
Twenty years ago, before e-cigarettes were invented, Ministry of Health data shows around 29 percent of year 10 students regularly smoked.
Health advocates – including the Government – have touted vaping as a harm reduction measure for adults, but the researchers say it appears to be working on kids as well.
“The overall decline in smoking over the past six years in New Zealand youth suggests that e-cigarettes might be displacing smoking,” the study, published in The Lancet Public Health, says.
“It’s fantastic,” Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) director Deborah Hart told The AM Show on Thursday.
“We know that vaping causes less harm than smoking. The Royal College of Physicians says 95 percent less harm than smoking.”