A Smokefree 2025 Plan

What's in the Government's Smokefree 2025 Plan?

The suite of measures signal to tobacco companies that their products will be less available, less addictive and less appealing.

The number of people smoking is declining at record levels.  Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall has announced measures for the final push necessary to achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal. 

The plan will make New Zealand a global trail-blazer 

In the plan:

  • Making tobacco products less appealing and less addictive, including nicotine reduction and a restriction on modifying cigarettes.
  • Making smoked tobacco less available by restricting sales.
  • Ensuring the regulatory settings prefer less harmful vaping products over smoked cigarettes, whilst new measures will protect young people from vaping and smoking.
  • Building on the decreasing rates of youth smoking.
  • Fortifying measures to guard against illicit trade.
  • Support for community-led initiatives targeted at populations with high smoking rates, notably Māori and Pacific.
  • Strengthened Māori governance of tobacco control.

To read the ASH response, click HERE

Why do we need a national plan?

Smoking tobacco causes the early deaths of nearly 5,000 New Zealanders every year. That's some 14 people dying every day.  It is the leading cause of health inequities; smoking related diseases – cancer, heart and lung diseases – as well as deaths are 2-3 times higher in Māori and Pacifica.

  • Currently 387,000 New Zealanders smoke daily.
  • The majority are aged between 25-54 years.
  • To reach the Smokefree 2025 goal at least 40,000 people need to quit smoking every year.
  • Two thirds of all quitters must be Māori or Pacifica.

We have done everything the WHO advised.  We are still not at the Smokefree 2025 goal.  We now must be bold.

What is Smokefree 2025? 

The 2010 the Māori Affairs Select Committee investigated the impact the tobacco industry is having on Māori and New Zealand. The result was a strong recommendation from the committee that New Zealand become smokefree by 2025, and less than 5% of people smoke.

With cross-party support, the New Zealand government agreed to the goal – a historic move that has set global precedent.

Since setting the Smokefree 2025 goal, until now there has never been a plan on how we will get there!

A litmus test for the Smokefree 2025 Plan

The plan must firstly support quit smoking efforts with:

  • Greater investment in community-led initiatives and mass media campaigns
  • Focus on those with the highest smoking rates - Māori, Pacific and the poorest in our community

Secondly it must include:

  • Longer-term measures to make smoked cigarettes less available, less addictive and less appealing
  • Ensure enforcement of the new regime
  • Provide regular and transparent monitoring of progress.

What has led to the Smokefree 2025 Plan?

Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced proposals for a smokefree plan in mid April 2021.  

Submissions on the proposals closed on 31 May 2021. 

In May 2021 the Government increased the budget to support the smokefree goal, by $36.6M over 4 years for community-led initiatives and mass media campaigns.  To read more, click HERE.

On 1 December, the New Zealand Health Survey results were released.  It included dramatically declining rates of smoking in 15 - 24 year olds and the largest decline in overall smoking ever recorded by the Survey.   The declines are linked to the use of vaping as a quit smoking tool.

However the Survey also evidenced high rates of smoking in Māori, Pacific and the poorest New Zealanders.   We need to focus on these groups to achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal. To read more, click HERE

Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced how we will get us all to the Smokefree 2025 goal on 9 December 2021. To read her announcement, click HERE