State of Smoking in New Zealand
Party to the world health organization framework convention on tobacco control (who FCTC):
Since the who FCTC:
- Smoking reduction: Smoking rates decreased from 20.1 percent in 2007 to 16.3 percent in 2016.
- Bans: In 2004, New Zealand banned smoking in all public places, except for dedicated rooms within healthcare institutions. Tobacco advertising on television, radio, and print media was banned in New Zealand even before the FCTC. Additionally, in 2012 the country banned all tobacco displays in stores. The minimum age to purchase tobacco is 18 years old.
- Health warnings: Regulations have required health warnings to be displayed on all tobacco products sold. However, a new law being implemented in 2018 requires graphic warnings on the front, back, and on one side of the packaging, along with a statement encouraging users to quit.
- Tobacco tax rates: As of 2010, taxes contributed to approximately 70 percent of the total cost of tobacco products. Legislation signed in 2016 mandated the tax level increase by 10 percent annually from 2017 through 2020.
New Zealand is one the most heavily regulated countries, when it comes to tobacco. The Smoke-free Environments Act (SFEA) of 1990 imposed a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and promotion, including a ban on the display of all tobacco products at points of sale. Smoking in public, indoor places is also widely prohibited. Non-nicotine e-cigarettes are unregulated in New Zealand; however, because nicotine is a scheduled substance under New Zealand’s Medicines Act, sale and supply of e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products, and snus are outlawed by the SFEA. In 2017, the Ministry of Health recommended amending the SFEA to allow for the legal sale of e-cigarettes with restrictions. These recommendations also outlined a pre-market approval process for reduced-risk and smokeless tobacco products.
New Zealanders are well educated on the dangers of smoking. Media coverage includes the benefits of smoke-free environments and the use of vaping and e-cigarettes as a healthy alternative to cigarettes.
Views of Alternatives to Smoking:
Vaping products and e-cigarettes are used frequently in New Zealand and covered in a relatively positive way by the media.
By the Numbers:
- Approximately 600,000 people ages 15 and older currently smoke.
- Smoking rates in the native Māori communities average much higher than the general population, with as many as 38.6% of the Māori population smoking.
- Tobacco consumption has decreased on average 6.3 percent annually between 2010 and 2014.
“To help people quit effectively, we need a range of products and support so people can find what works best for them. Different things will work for different people.”
– Marewa Glover, PhD, professor of public health