See the live dashboard for CensusAtSchool 2021

Three in ten Year 11-13 students want the legal vaping age to be lowered – but a similar number want it pushed even higher

Three in ten Year 11-13 students want the legal vaping age to be lowered – but a similar number want it pushed even higher.

31% of the 2,678 senior students surveyed wanted the age for buying vaping products to be decreased, but 27% wanted it increased.

The insight comes from CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura, a non-profit, online educational project that brings statistics to life in both English and Māori-medium classrooms. Supervised by teachers, students from Years 3-13 anonymously answer 34 questions in English or te reo Māori on digital devices. The project is run by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Stats NZ.

This year, more than 19,000 students from 400 schools have taken part to date. Year 11-13 students (aged 15-18) were asked a series of additional questions, including “At what age do you think it should be legal to do the following? a) Drive b) Vote c) Buy alcohol d) Vape”. The results for the senior students taking part to date showed that 65% agreed with the legal driving age, 52% agreed with the legal voting age, 55% agreed with the legal age to buy alcohol, and 41% agreed with the legal age to buy vaping products. In addition, 27% wanted the legal voting age to be lowered to 16.

CensusAtSchool schools advisor Anne Patel says, “It is a good sign that 27% want the legal age for buying vaping products to be even older than it already is at 18. Young people need leadership from people they look up to who acknowledge and confront problems they’re facing, with the students themselves being drivers of the solutions.”

The senior students were also asked how they feel about the future. They were able to choose a range of options on a scale from ‘very positive’ to ‘very negative’. 8% felt very positive, 30% felt positive, 40% felt neutral, and 15% felt negative, and 7% felt very negative. Figures were similar for both Māori and New Zealand Europeans.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says that this is a positive message for young people with everything going on in the world today.

The findings correspond with a Colmar Brunton/NZME survey in February and March of 1,000 adults in New Zealand which showed 42% felt that overall, things will improve in the next 12 months.

In other findings for the Year 11-13 students surveyed:

  • 61% said they felt included at school always or very often, 31% said sometimes, and a further 8% said they rarely or never felt included at school.
  • 57% said they did no paid work at a part-time job in the past week. 13% said they did up to 5 hours, 13% said 5 to 10 hours, and 13% said 10 to 20 hours. The remaining 4% said they did 20 or more hours of paid work at a part-time job in the past week.

CensusAtSchool runs every two years. This year’s census, the tenth, was launched on May 10 and runs until the end of 2022. More than 19,000 students from 400 schools have taken part to date.

See the questions, which schools are taking part, and a live dashboard of results on CensusAtSchool’s website.