Second-hand smoke exposure

This page presents data and statistics on exposure to second-hand smoke in New Zealand. This data comes from the 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey. You can download a factsheet from the Downloads section to the right.

Second-hand smoke is a major cause of indoor air pollution in New Zealand.  Exposure to second-hand smoke causes illness and premature death in both children and adults. 

On this page

Over 150,000 people exposed to second-hand smoke
Large drop in exposure to second-hand smoke
Young adults and children are more likely to be exposed
Māori are more affected
Rates higher in more deprived areas
Health effects from second-hand smoke
Information about this data

Over 150,000 people exposed to second-hand smoke

In 2012/13, over 150,000 New Zealanders were exposed to second-hand smoke in their home [1].

This included:

  • 5.0% of children aged 0–14 years (45,000 children)
  • 3.7% of non-smoking adults aged 15+ years (106,000 adults).

Large drop in exposure to second-hand smoke

Fewer children were exposed to second-hand smoke in their home in 2012/13 (5.0%) than in 2006/07 (9.6%).

A similar drop was seen for non-smoking adults, from 7.5% in 2006/07 to 3.7% in 2012/13.  

Young adults and children are more likely to be exposed

Young adults aged 15–19 years had the highest rates of being exposed to second-hand smoke in their home (9.9%). Older children also had relatively high rates of being exposed to second-hand smoke. 

Māori are more affected 

Almost one in ten (9.2%) Māori children were exposed to second-hand smoke. This rate is 2.6 times as high as the rate for non-Māori children, adjusting for age and sex differences.

Among non-smoking adults, Māori also had a higher rate of second-hand smoke exposure (9.4%) than other adults. 

Rates higher in more deprived areas

Rates of being exposed to second-hand smoke were higher for children living in more socioeconomically deprived areas: 

  • 1.4% in the least deprived areas (NZDep2006 quintile 1)
  • 10.7% in the most deprived areas (NZDep2006 quintile 5)

Non-smoking adults living in high deprivation areas were also more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke than other people.  

Health effects from second-hand smoke

Second-hand smoke can cause poor health, particularly in young children. 

For more information and statistics on the health effects of second-hand smoke, go to the health and second-hand smoke webpage

Information about this data 

Exposure to second-hand smoke

Source: 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey, Ministry of Health [1].

Definition: Exposure to second-hand smoke was asked about in the adult (15+ years) and child (0–14 years) questionnaires of the 2006/07 and 2012/13 New Zealand Health Surveys.  The question asked in these surveys was:

  • Does anyone smoke inside your house? Yes / No / Don’t know / Refused.

For children aged 0–14 years, a primary caregiver answered the child questionnaire as a proxy for the child.  The above questions were reworded to refer to the child.  For more information on the New Zealand Health Survey, visit the New Zealand Health Survey website.

References

1. Ministry of Health. 2014. Tobacco Use 2012/13: New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.