ASH applauds the budget

Today’s budget sees a significant increase of $36.625M over 4 years in resourcing for smokefree initiatives.  In a bold move, the Government has increased funding for health promotion and social marketing campaigns to support the Smokefree 2025 goal, but is also funded stop smoking programmes aimed at priority communities to help ensure we reach the goal.

This funding increase is consistent with the Government’s proposals for the Smokefree 2025 plan.  It relies on mass media campaigns, support for community-led efforts to support smokers to quit smoking and transitioning those who smoke to less harmful alternatives, like vaping.

There are only 4 years remaining to achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal where less than 5% of adults smoke cigarettes. Except for the wealthiest fifth of the population, we are not on track for this goal; 500,000 adults still smoke cigarettes.  

ASH Director, Deborah Hart said. “We are absolutely delighted with this new funding, which underlines the Government’s commitment to the Smokefree 2025 goal.  Because of the looming deadline for the goal 60,000 smokers need to quit every year, up from the 20,000 currently quitting. Helping Māori, Pacific and poor people to quit will make a huge impact in reducing inequality as well as ensuring we meet the Smokefree 2025 goal.


Useful information

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Aotearoa New Zealand causes over 4,000 deaths each year (12 deaths every day).

  • Since 2000, cigarette smoking has caused approximately 100,000 deaths.
  • Around 1 in 8 adults smoke cigarettes daily, but this rises to 1 in 3 among Māori.
  • On average, cigarette smokers consume 10 cigarettes a day (costing $6,500 a year).
  • People smoke cigarettes for the nicotine, but die from the smoke from burning tobacco.
  • Cigarette smoking imposes huge financial and health burdens on the poorest New Zealanders:  in the poorest fifth of the population, 1 in 4 adults smoke.
  • Cigarette smoking is a key driver of inequality. The most wealthy group of people have already reached the Smokefree 2025 goal. The poorest cigarette smokers are caught in a cycle of poverty.
  • The Government receives $2.billion in revenue from taxes on cigarettes;  The poorest 40% of New Zealanders pay 66% of the tax.

About ASH NZ

ASH - Action for Smokefree 2025, is an independent NGO advocating for evidence based, ethical and effective actions to achieve Smokefree 2025 and reduce the preventable burden of premature death and disease caused by cigarette smoking. 


Contact:  Deborah Hart, Director ASH NZ:  021 379 344

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