Quit smoking

Encouragement, support and resources to help you quit.

Quit smoking

One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. Smoking not only affects your performance, it can lead to some serious health issues.

Smoking rates in New Zealand, as per the Ministry of Health Annual Survey show a decrease. From 2019/20 to 2020/21, the percentage of New Zealanders smoking declined from 13.7% to 10.9% and smoking daily declined from 11.9% to 9.4%. This indicates more New Zealanders are successfully quitting smoking. It’s not easy, but with a positive frame of mind, discipline and support, it's achievable

This section explains what smoking can do to your body and gives a starting point to help you quit.

The impact of smoking

The NZ Ministry of Health, reports smoking and breathing second-hand smoke causes about 5,000 deaths every year. That’s more than from drowning, suicide and motor vehicle accidents combined.

Around two-thirds of smokers who continue smoking, will eventually be killed by tobacco. Long-term smokers will die an average of 10 to 15 years earlier because of smoking.

The odds are - if you smoke you'll be affected by it in some way:

  • Smoking is a major cause of blindness
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), stomach and bladder
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing diseases of the urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract
  • 40% of all strokes in people aged under 65 years are caused by smoking
  • 40% of heart disease in those under 65 is caused by smoking
  • Smokers have two-to-three times the risk of having a sudden cardiac death (when the heart suddenly stops beating) than non-smokers
  • During pregnancy, inhaled smoke enters your bloodstream and passes through the placenta to the baby affecting your baby’s health

Other reasons to quit

  • Do it for your family - children with smoking parents are up to six times more likely to start smoking
  • Do it for long-term health benefits - health benefits kick in very soon after your last cigarette. Providing you stay off them you can look forward to a longer life
  • Do it for your budget - giving up smoking half-a-pack a day can save over $70 a week. Check out how much smoking costs you here.

It's not easy to quit – but don’t give up hope

Many people aren’t successful the first time. But that doesn’t mean they’ve failed. It’s just the first step in their quit journey – the important thing is to keep trying, and try different things. Most people find quitting with a buddy, and with friends and family supporting them, provides the best opportunity for success. Smoking cessation or nicotine replacement therapy may help too, but you need to discuss these options with a medical professional.

You can see the benefits of stopping smoking here.

Getting support

  • If you want help to quit at work, contact your Defence Health Centre, or Occupational Health Nurse.
  • Quitline is a 24/7, phone and online, nationwide service of Quit Advisors who work with smokers to help make a plan to quit. Phone 0800 778 778 or text 4006.
  • Join the Quitline blog or facebook page for online support from others going through the same thing.
  • Register free on the website for supportive phone calls and regular text messages, with tips to keep on track.
  • Find information and local help in your region to stop smoking with Smokefree.
  • Or for those that would prefer it, phone apps such as Goal Post can help.
  • Find your local stop smoking services.

From smoking to vaping

Quitting smoking can be tough. Vaping is a way to quit cigarettes by getting nicotine with fewer of the toxins that come from burning tobacco. You get to stay social, spend less, and once you’ve quit smoking you’ll feel better for it.

Although vaping is much less harmful than smoking, it’s not harmless. So you should plan to eventually quit vaping too, but only when you know you won’t go back to smoking.

There are lots of different opinions and beliefs about vaping. Some say it’s as bad as smoking, others say it helps with quitting smoking. It’s actually somewhere in the middle. Vaping is not for non-smokers, but it has the potential to help smokers quit. 

The Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency/Te Hiringa Hauora are supported by a number of other organisations in their position on vaping.

  • Vaping is not for children or young people
  • Vaping is not for non-smokers
  • The best thing you can do for your health is be smoke free and vape free
  • Vaping is not harmless but it is much less harmful than smoking
  • Vaping can help some people quit smoking

For support and advice reach out to the support services above.

  • Vaping explained
  • Why vaping was right for me
  • Doctor discusses vaping