Almost all smokers start smoking as children. In 2015, 5% of New Zealand 14-15 year olds smoked regularly (daily, weekly or monthly), and 2% smoked daily. The average age of smoking initiation among New Zealand youth is 14.6 years overall and 14.2 years for Māori.

Schools and Early Childhood Centres can encourage smokefree lifestyles.  


What education settings can do

Schools and Early Childhood Centres are required by the Smokefree Environments Act to take "all reasonably practicable steps" to ensure no person smokes anywhere in the school/kura or its grounds at any time, and ensure there is appropriate smokefree signage. 

Schools can go above this and embed smokefree messages and practices into curriculum, teaching and learning, school organisation and ethos and community links and partnerships.


How we can help

  • The Smokefree Schools Project is a simple self-audit questionnaire to help education settings check compliance with the Smokefree Environments Act and receive support from a Health Improvement Advisor if required.

Find out about our initiatives

Further information

Smokefree at schools - Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand