A Smokefree 2025 Plan

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.


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. 

With just 4 years until 2025, we need a bold plan to get us all to the Smokefree 2025 goal.

Smoking tobacco 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 in the 25-54 year age range.
  • 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.

What should the plan include?

The plan must:

  • Include immediate actions  to accelerate the decline in smoking;
  • Propose longer-term measures such as controls on the tobacco industry and supply; and
  • Provide an investment strategy.

It should clearly:

  • Communicate to New Zealanders what actions are being taken to achieve the goal, in particular to substantially increase quitting especially among Māori, Pacifica and low-income New Zealanders;
  • Urgently take advantage of recent legislation on vaping and continue to promote vaping as a support measure for smokers wanting to quit; and
  • Provide regular and transparent monitoring of progress.

The investment strategy must recognise that:

  • New Zealanders who smoke pay over $2 billion in tax each year; and the poorest pay the most - at least $1.2 billion is paid by the poorest 40% of smokers; and
  • 1% of the total cigarette tax would provide an annual budget of $20 million to help all smokers make substantive improvements not only in their health, but also in their economic wellbeing.

ASH proposes immediate action on three measures that are easy to implement and have wide support. To view those measures, click HERE.

What is the Government doing?

Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced proposals for a smokefree plan in mid April 2021.  The proposals are far-reaching and world-leading. Together, they would form a firm basis for achieving the smokefree goal.

Submissions on the proposals closed on 31 May 2021.  We are now waiting on the Government's response to the submissions.  In the interim, the Government has 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.