Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity, mortality, and health inequalities in New Zealand, and is estimated to cause 4,500 to 5,000 deaths every year.
Tobacco is a uniquely harmful consumer product responsible for the premature death of half its long-term users. No other legal consumer product causes such widespread harm; smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and is a leading cause of cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and a range of other conditions.
The New Zealand Government has commitment to making Aotearoa New Zealand smokefree by the year 2025, which means a reduction in smoking prevalence to less than 5% among all population groups, and a reduction in availability of tobacco to minimal levels. In December 2021 the Government released an action plan for achieving Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, which sets out six key focus areas. The plan recognises the importance of Māori leadership and decision making, a tobacco-free generation policy to ensure young people do not start smoking, and helping people quit smoking through increased evidence based stop smoking services, reducing the addictiveness and appeal of tobacco products, and greatly reducing the availability of tobacco. Research has an important role to play in achieving this national goal.
While maintaining a broad interest in all aspects of tobacco control, our research team focuses on reducing the availability of tobacco. Our research includes spatial analyses of the locations of tobacco retailers, and examining policy options for reducing availability. We also undertake research in the area of smokefree environments.
Current smokefree projects
- Geospatial mapping of different tobacco retail reduction policies
- The sale of tobacco in on-license premises
- Smokefree policies of National Sporting Organisations
- Tirohia ki ngā whaitua auahi kore – Looking at smokefree environments
Smokefree research team
- Dr Louise Marsh, Senior Research Fellow