Supporting young people to remain smokefree

Group of 8 teenagers of varying ethnicity, with their heads forming a circle. Source: Microsoft.If we can support young people to be smokefree, they are likely to remain smokefree for life, since very few people take up smoking after they reach their 20s.

Young people are leading the way to a Smokefree Aotearoa as increasing numbers of 14-15 year olds have never even had a puff.

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 non-one smokes inside the home or in the car protects children and young people.  Parents who smoke openly voicing their concerns about their smoking habit also helps.
  • Social norms: It’s hard to be smokefree if smoking is common or normal.

Let’s work to change the social acceptance of smoking

No Smoking symbol with the words Smokefree underneath.Creating Smokefree environments

It’s now illegal to smoke in or around the grounds of workplaces, hospitals, schools and early childhood centres.

Other areas that are voluntarily Smokefree are parks, playgrounds and sports grounds in the Canterbury, South Canterbury and West Coast regions.

Find out about Community and Public Health’s work around smokefree community spaces.

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.

Find out about the quit services available to smokers.

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

Stop Before You Start Campaign

This campaign brings to life the unhealthy relationship young adults may find themselves in when smoking.

The campaign highlights the health and social impacts of smoking and asks young adults to…“think about your relationship with tobacco”.

The aims are to increase the resistance of young people to tobacco including:

  • offers of cigarettes in social settings
  • understanding tobacco and its harms, and
  • increasing pro-smokefree and anti-tobacco attitudes.

If you start smoking, you start a relationship with cigarettes.

Stop Before You Start: He might give me cancer one day (DRU0135).


Page last updated: 28/02/2017

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