A smokefree future for New Zealand

We’re delivering on our promise to make New Zealand smokefree by 2025, with a bold new plan that will save thousands of lives.

Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, and causes one in four cancers. While smoking rates are heading in the right direction, we need to do more, faster, to reach our goal.

That’s why we’re taking action with Auahi Kore Aotearoa Mahere Rautaki 2025 – the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan. The initiatives outlined in this plan will ensure young people never start smoking, reduce the nicotine in tobacco products, and limit the number of shops that can sell cigarettes.

We know that increasing taxes on cigarettes will only further punish smokers who are struggling to kick the habit. So, our plan contains new, innovative measures to help us reach our goal.  

We want to make sure young people never start smoking – so we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to our younger generations. People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco.

We’ll also reduce the appeal, addictiveness, and availability of smoked tobacco products – with new laws significantly reducing both the number of shops that can sell these products and the level of nicotine these products can contain.

These changes won’t come into effect immediately, giving retailers time to transition to a new business model.

Most smokers really want to quit. Our plan helps them by taking tobacco out of communities and making the products they can access less addictive. We know it’s really tough to break the habit, and so we’ve also scaled up support for stop-smoking services to help people quit.

These are big changes – and they’ll make a big difference. At the rate we’re currently going, it would take decades for Māori smoking rates to fall below 5%, and we’re not prepared to leave people behind. COVID has shown what we can do when we all work together towards one public health goal. We want to build on that momentum for the fight against smoking.  

We’re establishing a Māori advisory taskforce to inform our action plan and deliver better outcomes for tangata whenua. In the new year, a Pacific advisory group will also be stood up, to ensure our approach tackles existing health inequities and delivers a healthier New Zealand for all.

By establishing a smokefree generation, we’re making it clear that smoking is not in our future.

You can read more about our work on health here. Stay in the loop with the latest announcements by signing up to our mailing list and following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.