Attitudes towards smoking and vaping in the Wairarapa Region

The three Wairarapa District Councils are developing a combined Wairarapa Smoke and Vapefree Policy to support New Zealand’s goal to be Smokefree by 2025. The combined policy is an update of the three existing smokefree policies each council has in place currently. The revised combined smoke and vape free policy will provide a consistent approach across the region so that the policy is easily interpreted and supported by our community. 

Through a survey conducted in September and October 2022, we received over 140 responses from our community, businesses, and organisations from across the Wairarapa region. These responses will help inform the development of a combined Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa District Council smoke and vapefree policy.  

The survey asked our community about:

  • General attitudes towards smoking and vaping.
  • Smoking and vaping in public spaces and events.
  • Ways we could encourage smoke and vapefree environments.

Next steps

The survey responses will be considered alongside research and data from the health sector. We expect to deliver a revised combined policy in early 2023.

The revised policy will align with the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 and the intent of the national level Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is vaping?

Vaping or to vape is defined as the use of an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette that heats a solution producing a vapour that the user inhales or ‘vapes’ (Ministry of Health, 2017).

Vaping is different to smoking, which burns tobacco leaf creating smoke. Both vaping and smoking deliver nicotine, but it is the burning of tobacco that causes most of the harm. Vaping, however, is not completely harmless. It is not recommended for non-smokers. Find out more on the vaping facts health website.

What is council’s role?

Over 50 councils across New Zealand have introduced either smokefree playgrounds, parks, council events, or all three through their smokefree policies. Approximately 24 councils identify some of these spaces as vapefree as well. This map shows where they are. Many councils also have their smokefree outdoors public areas policy on their website. The focus of most of the policies is to further support the 2025 Smokefree Aotearoa target using an educative and encouragement approach.

We recognise that health sector organisations take the lead on smoke cessation and prevention. Councils’ role is to promote the social, economic, environment and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future. It is also the duty of every council to improve, promote and protect public health within its district Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002) and Section 23 of the Health Act 1956.

What are the current statistics?

Smoking and Vaping is higher in the Wairarapa region than the national average. In 2020/21 the national smoking average was 10.9%. The most recent data at a district level is from 2018:

  • 17% of people in Masterton,
  • 14% of people in Carterton, and
  • 13% in South Wairarapa smoked regularly.

We understand these rates have dropped since 2018 but parts of the Wairarapa region are still above the national average.

E-cigarettes/ vaping stats are unknown (currently) for the region. Nationally:

  • vaping is trending upwards (0.9% in 2015/16 to 6.2% in 2020/21).
  • 12.5% of Māori vape (2020/21), rising from 1.6% in 2015/16.
  • vaping use for youth is also increasing.
    • For 15–17-year-olds it has increased from 0.1% (2015/16) to 5.8% (2020/21 – youth born between ‘04-06).
    • 15.3% of 18–24-year-olds vape (2020/21 – youth born between ‘97-03). In 2015/16 this was only 1%.
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