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Smokefree Aotearoa

With less than a decade to go before the smoke-free Aotearoa campaign meets its deadline, let’s take a look at the latest statistics released by statistics NZ and

“It’s not about banning smoking. It’s about taking action against tobacco use so that by 2025, hardly anyone will smoke” –

We measure smoking because of its negative effects on health. Smoking is a major risk factor for many cancers and for respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Around 5,000 people die each year in New Zealand because of smoking or second-hand smoke exposure. That’s 13 people a day.

The following graph displays adults 15 years and over who are currently smoking from the year 1983 up until 2012. There is a clear decrease in numbers which is evidence that the smoke-free movement is taking effect. Also, year 10 students who are 14 and 15 years of age show a prominent decline over the past 16 years.


Interesting Facts:

  • Men are more likely to smoke at 18 percent than women at 15 percent.
  • However, Māori women have the highest smoking rate at 42 percent (Māori men 34 percent).
  • Smokers are more likely to have poor mental health than non-smokers.
  • Smokers are more likely to binge drink.
  • The average age of starting smoking is 14.8 years-old.
  • In 2014, the daily smoking rate for 14 and 15-year-olds fell below 3 percent, the lowest rates ever.
  • 18-24-year-olds have the highest smoking rate, 24 percent.
Demographic  Percentage


Adult smokers (15+) 17 percent (down from 20 percent in 2006/07)

– With higher smoking rates among men (18 percent) than women (15 percent)



Youth aged 15–17 6 percent (down from 16 percent in 2006/07)


Young adults 18-24 24 percent (down from 28 percent in 2006/07; however this age range now has the highest smoking rates of any age group)
Māori adults 38 percent (40 percent in 2007)


Pacific adults 24 percent (26 percent in 2007)


European and other 15 percent


Asian adults 6 percent

From this graph, it is clear people are smoking less.

In 2014, the amount of tobacco people smoked reached an all-time low of 734 cigarettes per adult. Between 2010 and 2014, tobacco consumption (including standard cigarettes) per adult decreased on average by 6.3 percent annually.

Call 0800 778 778 to quit smoking forever.

Shoko Kurata
Shoko is an Osaka-born Kiwi aspiring to become New Zealand's very own Oprah. Your average Jane, she loves anything to do with music, sports, reading and writing. She loves a good old debate on controversial topics because she always comes out on top. A student at Whitireia, she hopes to graduate with her diploma in Radio Journalism.
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