Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in NZ.[i] 

Tobacco is the only legal product that kills 1 in 2 of its long term users when used as it is intended.[ii]

5000 New Zealanders die every year from smoking related diseases.[iii]

Smoking is a major contributing factor to health inequalities between Maori and non-Maori.[iv] 

Almost all smokers regret starting and want to quit.[v]

The average age people start smoking in New Zealand is at 14.6 years old.[vi]

Approximately 5000 children start smoking every year.

Most 15-19 year old smokers say they would not smoke if they had their lives over (72.3%).[vii]

Most youth smokers purchase cigarettes themselves (74.2%).[viii]


Tobacco retail Facts

Tobacco can be purchased from about 6000 retailers around New Zealand. [ix]

Communities that have more places selling tobacco have higher smoking rates. [ix]

Poorer communities have more places selling tobacco than wealthier communities. [ix]

Tobacco is more available than bread & milk, stamps and medication. [ix]

On average, there are six shops that sell cigarettes within 10 minutes' walk of secondary schools in NZ. [ix]

Cigarettes can be sold at any place, any time, by any one in New Zealand. [ix]

70% of New Zealanders want less places selling tobacco in their communities and said that this would make a difference to smoking rates. [x]



[i] The Quit Group and the Ministry of Health.  2009. Maori Smoking and Tobacco Use 2009.  Wellington: Ministry of Health.

[ii] Peto R et al. 2006. Mortality from smoking in developed countries 1950-2000 (2nd edition, revised June 2006:  ). Geneva: Swizerland: International Union against Cancer.

[iii] The Quit Group and the Ministry of Health.  2009. Maori Smoking and Tobacco Use 2009.  Wellington: Ministry of Health.

[iv] Ministry of Health. 2005. Tobacco Facts 2005.  Wellington: Ministry of Health

[v] Geoffrey T. Fong et al. 2004.  The near-universal experience of regret among smokers in four countries: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Volume 6, Issue S3 December 2004, pages S341-S351. 

[vi] Paynter J. 2008.  National Year 10 ASH Snapshot Survey.  1999-2008: Trends in tobacco use by students aged 14-15 years. 

[vii] Ministry of Health. 2007. New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey 2006. Wellington: Ministry of Health. 

[viii] ASH factsheet, youth smoking. (accessed June 2010)

[ix] Marsh L., Doscher C., Robertson L. (2013) Characteristics of tobacco retailers in New Zealand. Health & Place 23 ( 2013) 165-170

[x] Health Promotion Agency (2016) Health and Lifestyles Survey. Website accessed on 20 June 2019