Working towards a smokefree | auahi kore future

Tobacco smoking is the main cause of premature death and disability in New Zealand. It results in almost 5000 deaths every year, killing more than half of those who use it.

Smokefree Aotearoa New Zealand 2025.New Zealand is moving towards the goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 and this is supported by the Canterbury DHB and Community and Public Health. A Smokefree Aotearoa means:

  • that our children and grandchildren will enjoy tobacco-free lives;
  • that almost no one will smoke – less than 5 percent of the population will be current smokers; and
  • it will be very difficult to sell or supply tobacco.

Community and Public Health’s goal is to reduce the tobacco-related harm experienced by the people of our region, by focusing on:

Protect children from second-hand smoke

Two young children sitting in the back seat of a car wearing masks to protect them from smoke.Second-hand smoke refers to the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke blown into the air by a person smoking. It contains more than 200 poisons, including 50 that are known to cause cancer.

Second-hand cigarette smoke is more dangerous for children than adults because:

  • They breathe quicker and so breathe in more smoke;
  • Their lungs are smaller and more delicate so are more easily damaged;
  • Their immune systems are immature so they are more prone to becoming sick.

Children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from glue ear, chest and respiratory infections, asthma and reduced lung growth.

Making your home and car smokefree

Winding the window down in the car or opening windows in the house will not remove all of the poisons from tobacco smoke. They will linger long after the smoke and smell have disappeared. Children are often not able to move away from second-hand smoke in a car or home.

Here are some easy steps to making your car and home smokefree:

  • Make a rule that your car and home are smokefree at all times for everyone.
  • Let other people know by placing smokefree stickers where everyone can see them.
  • Ask your family and whānau to support you by not smoking in your home or car.
  • Clean out your car ashtray and remove ashtrays from your home.
  • Remove lighters from your home, as well as the car cigarette lighter.
  • Swap your smokes for chewing gum when in the car. You can also put the smokes out of sight while tamariki are in the car.
  • Be a positive role model and don’t smoke around children. This means they are less likely to grow up to be smokers themselves.
  • Think about quitting if you currently smoke.

It is now illegal to smoke or vape in vehicles with kids present – whether the vehicle is moving or not.

A survey in South Canterbury showed that most people are in favour of Smokefree cars. Over 90 percent of people in the survey said they would support a law that made smoking in a car carrying children illegal.

A West Coast survey showed that more than 90 percent of people had a Smokefree home, and more than 80 percent had a Smokefree car.

Auahi Kore and the health of Māori and Pacific people

Auahi Kore Logo - whanau version.Nationally nearly half of Māori and 1 in 3 Pacific people smoke, compared to 1 in 5 people for the total NZ population.

Community and Public Health is committed to addressing the particular issues that contribute to smoking in the Māori and Pacific communities.

Our staff promote and support smokefree while working with Māori and Pacific communities in many settings including marae, churches, schools and workplaces.

Working for change through smokefree Networks

Staff at Community and Public Health also work with other organisations on joint projects and an annual celebration of World Smokefree Day (31st May).

Community and Public Health staff are involved with several smokefree networks, including Smokefree Canterbury Coalition and the West Coast Tobacco Free Coalition.

Collaborative work by Community and Public Health with other agencies includes:

  • encouraging workplaces and community organisations to support the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal;
  • working with health professionals in hospitals and medical practices to ensure they are providing advice and support to patients who smoke;
  • providing education and support on smoking cessation services;
  • helping social service organisations to up-skill around addressing smokefree with their clients; and
  • working with local Councils to promote more smokefree public places.



Contact your local office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Ph: +64 3 768 1160

Let everyone know your place is smokefree

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 requires all internal areas of workplaces, licensed premises and certain public enclosed premises to be Smokefree.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 came into force in November 2020. It requires vaping to be prohibited in settings where smoking is not permitted.

Signage is used to communicate expectations and help people to know they are in a smokefree and vapefree area.

Vapefree smokefree signage (SMF0028).

Smokefree social housing environments can improve tenants’ health and wellbeing

Providing a smokefree environment is good for everyone. Having a smokefree policy protects non-smokers from the harm associated with second and third-hand smoke such as chemicals and toxins left behind on surfaces after exposure to smoke.

Smokefree policies can also increase current-smokers’ levels of motivation to stop, and can trigger quit attempts or lead to reduced consumption. Often attempts are less successful because they lack supportive environments and adequate resources.

The Smokefree Social Housing Toolkit provides information, templates and checklists to assist you to engage with your staff, partner organisations, and your tenants, as you move towards the goal of becoming smokefree.

Ministry of Health advice on young people vaping

Concerns have been expressed by school teachers and professional bodies about young people vaping. So the Ministry of Health would like to reiterate its advice about vaping.

Children, young people and non-smokers should not vape (use e-cigarettes). Vaping products are intended for smokers only.

  • People who do not smoke should not vape.
  • Vaping products are not risk-free.
  • The long-term health effects of vaping are unknown.
  • Vaping products contain nicotine which is highly addictive.

Anyone who feels unwell after using a vaping product is encouraged to seek medical advice.

Page last updated: 13/10/2023

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