Tobacco control

The Ministry of Health has been the key agency for policy development in the tobacco control area and is involved in a large number of policy, service development and operational aspects of tobacco control.

Photo of a family on the beach, walking towards the rising sun.

The Ministry continually strives to ensure that its tobacco control activities are compatible with the international best practice in tobacco control as well as with its obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The three key objectives of tobacco control activities in New Zealand are:

  1. Fact: The New Zealand youth smoking rate dropped from 14% to 6% in the past 5 years.
    to reduce smoking initiation
  2. to increase quitting
  3. to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco is addictive

Addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behaviour or substance. A sign someone is addicted is if they give up social activities, such as going to a smokefree restaurant, in order to smoke.

Nicotine is an addictive chemical that when inhaled through a cigarette creates pleasant feelings by creating the brain chemical dopamine. These pleasant feelings only last for a few minutes, making the person want to have another cigarette. Nicotine also speeds up the person’s heart rate and increases their blood pressure.

Cigarette being stubbed out. In a statement regarding tobacco companies, Hon Tariana Turia made this comment:

‘Make no mistake tobacco is a highly addictive substance that is claiming the lives of approximately 5000 New Zealanders every year and that alone should horrify tobacco companies.’
– Hon Tariana Turia, statement on the Beehive website.

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