Socio-demographic characteristics of New Zealand smokers: results from the 1996 census

N Z Med J. 1999 Dec 10;112(1101):460-3.


Aims: To examine the key socio-demographic characteristics of adult smokers in New Zealand based on 1996 census data.

Methods: Data were obtained from the 1996 Census of Populations and Dwellings on smoking status and key socio-demographic variables. Age standardised smoking prevalence rates were calculated.

Results: Of the New Zealand population aged 15 years and over, 23.7% reported that they were regular smokers. Maori have the highest smoking prevalence in New Zealand (40.5%) and the peak rate is 55% among young Maori women aged 25-29 years. Pacific Island people, particularly males, have higher smoking rates than Europeans, while among Asians, the rate for males is three to four times the rate for females. People with no qualifications, who are unemployed or earning less than $30,000 per year, and women with high parities also have relatively high smoking prevalence rates.

Conclusion: The smoking rates of New Zealand population groups are highly heterogeneous and there is substantial scope for focusing tobacco control interventions on those groups with the highest prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Parity
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / ethnology