Tobacco smoking is a well-recognised risk factor for many cancers and for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and other pulmonary disease.
While 38 percent of Māori adults were current smokers in 2006/07, this represents a significant decrease in the proportion of smokers from 2003. These figures equate to a decrease of 8.4 percent for the Māori population since 1997 when close to half of all Māori adults (46 percent) smoked. However, it is important to note that Māori women were more than twice as likely to be current smokers as women in the total population in 2006/07. Similarly, Māori men were 1.5 times more likely to be current smokers than men in the total population.
Graph 6: Proportion of adult daily smokers, 1996/97, 2002/03 and 2006/07
Source: Ministry of Health, 2008. Data Source: New Zealand Health Information Service.