Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Youth tobacco access: trends and policy implications
  1. Philip Gendall1,
  2. Janet Hoek1,
  3. Louise Marsh2,
  4. Richard Edwards3,
  5. Benjamin Healey4
  1. 1Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
  2. 2Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  4. 4Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Wellington New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Professor Janet Hoek; janet.hoek{at}


Objective We examined whether the supply routes via which New Zealand adolescents aged 14–15 years accessed tobacco had changed during a period of dynamic policy activity.

Setting We analysed data from seven consecutive years (2006–2012) of the New Zealand Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Year 10 survey, a nationwide cross-sectional annual survey.

Participants All New Zealand schools teaching Year 10 students are invited to participate in the survey; school-level participation rates have ranged between 44% and 58% and more than 25 000 students have responded to the survey in each year. The results presented draw on the subsample who reported smoking when surveyed (N∼9200). The data were weighted by age, ethnicity and school socioeconomic status (SES) to remove effects of systematic over-response by New Zealand Europeans and under-response by those in lower SES groups from trend analyses.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The survey measured adolescents’ main reported tobacco supply source.

Results Smoking prevalence declined significantly (8.1%) over the period examined (linear tend coefficient: −0.74; 95% CI −1.03 to −0.45, significant p<0.01). Friends showed a significant decline in relative importance as a supply source while caregivers and other sources showed a significant increase over the period examined.

Conclusions The findings show that social supply, particularly via friends, caregivers and others, such as older siblings, is a key tobacco source for adolescents; commercial supply is much less important. The findings raise questions about the additional measures needed to reduce smoking among youth. Endgame policies that make tobacco more difficult to obtain and less appealing and convenient to gift merit further investigation.

  • Public Health
  • Preventive Medicine

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.