Tobacco control in New Zealand

New Zealand has been at the forefront of tobacco control internationally for some time and has made steady progress in reducing smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption.

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New Zealand's Tobacco Control Programme

The attached reports provide an overview of New Zealand's tobacco control programme and discuss both the effectiveness of the programme and value for money evidence. The reports indicate that New Zealand’s tobacco control programme is comprehensive, evidence-based and designed on international best practice and that tobacco control interventions are cost effective and provide excellent value for money. The tobacco control programme continues to evolve to ensure best value for money and effectiveness in reducing death and disease caused by smoking.

Smoking prevalence

Every cigarette you smoke is harming nearly every organ and system in your body. While smoking prevalence in New Zealand has declined over time, more than 529,000 New Zealanders still smoke.

For more information please refer to Section 2: Health behaviours and risk factors in the The New Zealand Health Survey.

Key dates in the history of tobacco in New Zealand

2021: Smokefree 2025 Action Plan launched. The Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan was launched on Thursday 9 December 2021. The culmination of many years of hard mahi, the plan will accelerate our progress towards a smokefree future and tackle the harm smoked tobacco products cause the people of New Zealand. 

2020: Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 came into force on 11 November 2020 (except for section 31 which came into force on 28 November 2021) and the provisions in the Amendment Act will be phased in.

2018: Tobacco standardised packaging introduced.

2011: Following the Māori Affairs Select Committee process in 2010, the New Zealand Government responded with a goal of a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

2004: All licensed premises (bars, restaurants, cafes, sports clubs, casinos) and other workplaces (including offices, factories, warehouses, work canteens and ‘smoko’ rooms) become smokefree indoors in New Zealand.

1987: New, varied and strong health warnings linking smoking to heart and lung disease appear on the front and back of cigarette packets sold in New Zealand. Strong public support for restrictions on smoking at work and indoors in public.

1974: First health warning on cigarette packets.

1984: Māori men and women had highest rates of lung cancer in the world. First Government tobacco control programme begun.

1964: Release of the US Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health linked smoking to heart disease, other kinds of cancer, and many other health problems.

1963: Cigarette advertising on New Zealand television and radio banned by broadcasting authorities in response to the Medical Association’s call for a ban on advertising.

1948: The Department of Health produced the first posters in New Zealand linking cancer with smoking.

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