Tobacco Use Survey

The prevalence of smoking has decreased in New Zealanders since the 1970s, yet approximately one in every four New Zealanders remains a current smoker. Monitoring behaviours relating to tobacco use in New Zealand is vital for the development and evaluation of effective tobacco control policies, programmes and services.


The New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey (NZTUS) is a national tobacco use survey, which was run in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

The objectives of the NZTUS were to:

  • Provide a measure for the prevalence of smoking annually
  • Collect valid and reliable measures of tobacco use including consumption, initiation, addiction, quitting, relapse and exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Collect comprehensive measures of, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about tobacco smoking and control
  • Provide reliable measures for populations of interest: NZ Maori, Pacific people and Asians
  • Monitor changes in tobacco use, quitting behaviour, and attitudes and beliefs about tobacco over time.

The NZTUS collected data by computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) about the New Zealand population aged 15–64 years, living in permanent private dwellings. Specific groups of particular interest in the New Zealand population were included in the survey sampling strategy so that inequalities could be monitored.

2009 Tobacco Use Survey

The target population was all adults aged 15–64 years living in permanent private dwellings. The requirement of the study was to provide a nationwide random probability sample using known probability methods, with a total target sample of not less than 5000 respondents aged 15–64 years. Targets by ethnicity were 1000 respondents reporting Maori ethnicity, 500 respondents reporting Pacific ethnicity and 500 respondents reporting Asian ethnicity.

2008 Tobacco Use Survey

The 2008 survey involved face-to-face interviews with 5132 adults (aged 15–64 years). All New Zealanders aged 15–64 years who were usually resident in permanent, private dwellings at the time of the survey were eligible for selection in this survey. As with the other Tobacco Use Surveys, the total sample consisted of a main sample and a screened sample to ensure representation of key age and ethnic groups.

2006 Tobacco Use Survey

The sample size for NZTUS 2006 was around 5703 adults. The total sample consisted of a main sample and a screened sample. The purpose of the screened sample was to boost the sample sizes for key age and ethnic groups (15–24 years, Maori, Pacific and Asian). The main sample included approximately 4400 people and the screened sample approximately 900 people.

Data and statistics

There are four main ways of getting data and statistics from the Tobacco Use Surveys.

  1. The Tobacco section contains the key results from the surveys.
  2. Data tables are available online with key results in Excel format for the 2008 New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey.
  3. Further analysis of survey results can be requested in some circumstances. Please email if you are interested in getting further analysis done.
  4. Survey microdata will be available from the Tobacco Use Surveys to researchers for their own research projects, on certain conditions. More information can be found in the Access to survey microdata section.
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