Supporting young people to remain smokefree

Family with three children ranging in ages from an infant to a teenager. Source: Health Promotion Agency.If we can support young people to be smokefree, they are likely to remain smokefree for life. This is since very few people take up smoking after they reach their 20s.

Young people are leading the way to a Smokefree Aotearoa with around three-quarters of young people never having had a puff of tobacco – 78.6 percent in 2015 compared to 33 percent in 2000.

There are a combination of factors involved in why young people take up smoking, including:

  • Family smoking: A young person is 7 times more likely to start smoking if both parents smoke. If their parents quit, they are also more likely to quit.
  • Access to tobacco products: Young people are more likely to take up smoking if they can afford to, and if cigarettes are easy to get.
  • Tobacco advertising and promotion: Young people are easily influenced by advertising and seeing celebrities smoking.
  • Social groups: Young people who smoke tend to hang out together.  Teenagers are more likely to smoke if their friends smoke.
  • Parental rules: Ensuring that no-one smokes inside the home or in the car protects children and young people.  It helps if parents who smoke openly talk about concerns about their own smoking habit.
  • Social norms: It’s hard to be smokefree if smoking is common or normal.

Let’s work to change the social acceptance of smoking

Creating smokefree environments

Smokefree Aotearoa New Zealand 2025.It’s illegal to smoke in or around the grounds of workplaces, hospitals, schools and early childhood centres.

Creating a smokefree culture

Parents and caregivers are powerful role models. Kids copy what they see so supporting parents and caregivers to quit is an important part of developing a smokefree culture.

Make smoking less appealing

Reducing access to and the appeal of cigarettes will lower the chances of a young person starting to smoke. The following are two key effective actions to reduce the appeal of smoking:



Download or order smokefree resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


Contact your local CPH office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Do you know what you're breathing? Don't get sucked in!

Page last updated: 15/10/2021

Copyright © 2021, Community & Public Health,