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Source: New Zealand Government

Statistics released today show New Zealand’s smoking rate has fallen to an historic low of 8% of adults smoking daily, down from 9.4% a year ago, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“The Government’s plan to reduce smoking is working. The number of people smoking fell by 56,000 over the past year, despite the pressures and stress of the pandemic,  and smoking rates are now half of what they were 10 years ago,” Ayesha Verrall said

“I’m really pleased to see the downward trend continue especially given other countries saw an uptick in their smoking rates during lockdowns.

“The Government has made stop smoking services more accessible and introduced tailored Māori and Pacific services and funded more health promotion. We know these policies are leading to more quit attempts, with roughly 84,000 people attempting to quit smoking in the past 12 months.

“I’m especially pleased to see a big drop in the daily smoking rates for Māori wāhine.  A quarter of Māori wāhine smokers have quit in the last 12 months, down from 24.1% last year to 18.2% this year.

“The overall daily smoking rate for Māori is now at a low of 19.9%, down from 22.3% in 2020/21.

“A key driver of this success has been the work we have done to co-design Quit programmes with Māori who have used services in the past. That first-hand knowledge of what support and intervention work is making a real difference.   

“Congratulations to the 56,000 people who quit and remained smokefree in the last year despite its many challenges.

“Smoking rates are plummeting and our goal of being smokefree by 2025 is within reach.

“I aim to have our smokefree legislation passed by the end of the year. This will decrease the number of retail outlets able to sell tobacco, drastically reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels and ensure the next generation are never sold tobacco.

“It’s never too late to quit smoking, get in touch with Quitline or your local stop smoking provider and start your journey today,” Dr Verrall said.

The Annual Update of Key Results 2021/22 New Zealand Health Survey can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

Notes to editors:

  • 8.0% of adults were daily smokers in 2021/22, down from 9.4% the previous year and 16.4% in 2011/12.
  • Daily smoking rates in 2021/22 are 19.9% for Maori, 18.2% for Pacific peoples, 7.2% European/other and Asian 2.6%.
  • 8.3% of adults are now vaping daily increasing from 6.2% in the past year.