General news
ASPIRE Aotearoa’s stance, evidence for the Legislation, and what you can do to help save it.

ASPIRE Aotearoa’s stance 

In December 2021, the government launched a groundbreaking Action Plan setting out its approach to achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal. 

By January 2023, Smokefree Legislation to support the Action Plan came into force. It was designed to: 

  • Reduce the number of retail outlets selling smoked tobacco products
  • Reduce the nicotine content of tobacco products to very low and non-addictive levels
  • Introduce a smokefree generation policy to protect young people from addiction to smoking.
However, in November 2023 Aotearoa’s new government announced its intention to repeal the Smokefree Legislation.

We strongly supported the Action Plan and Smokefree Legislation because we believe there is strong evidence that they will result in profound and rapid reductions in smoking prevalence. This will result in substantial improvements to population health and greatly reduce health inequities. Further details are available on our ‘Hot topics’ page here.

We are busy writing blogs, op-eds, and editorials setting out the theoretical rationale and evidence in support of retaining the smokefree laws.

Evidence supporting Aotearoa’s world-leading Smokefree Legislation

Aotearoa’s Action Plan and Smokefree Legislation aim to minimise smoking prevalence and address inequities in smoking and the health inequalities that they cause, particularly for Māori. 

You can find a range of evidence and resources about Aotearoa’s Smokefree Legislation below: 

Briefings and commentaries:

Tobacco industry interference: Is the new Government meeting its international obligations? | PHCC [NEW] 

Reducing nicotine in tobacco would help people quit – without prohibiting cigarettes | New Zealand Doctor (

The 5000 annual deaths caused by smoking also matter 

Key findings from the 2022/23 NZ Health Survey 

Recent academic blog by our co-directors: Stubbing out democracy: no Government mandate for smokefree repeal 

Young New Zealanders want a tobacco-free future - new research

A summary of the evidence to support retaining the Smokefree Legislation

The economic argument for retaining the Smokefree Legislation 

Links to key research and publications that support the Smokefree Legislation



Report from the Talbot Mills public opinion survey 

Awareness, Support, and Perceived Impacts of New Zealand’s Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Legislation Among Adults Who Smoke or Formerly Smoked - Findings from the Oct-Dec 2022 EASE/ITC New Zealand Survey | ASPIRE Aotearoa  

Support and perceived impact of key Smokefree policies in young people in Aotearoa/New Zealand | ASPIRE Aotearoa


Videos and media coverage:

Ministers asked to disclose tobacco industry links as smoke-free repeal again takes centre stage in Parliament - NZ Herald [NEW]

The repeal of NZ Smokefree Law - Why you should care 

BBC Health check interview with ASPIRE Co-Director Professor Janet Hoek (00:01:00 to 00:08:16) 

ANZMAC 2023 presentation by ASPIRE Co-Director Professor Janet Hoek (00:25:00 to 01:04:00)

Bernard Hickey's interview with ASPIRE Co-Director Associate Professor Andrew Waa

Tova O’Brien’s interview with ASPIRE Co-Director Professor Janet Hoek



Over 100 organisations (including ASPIRE Aotearoa, the Cancer Society, Hāpai Te Hauora Tāpui Public Health Authority, and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners) have signed an open letter to the government. You can find the letter here.

We will continue to add links and useful resources to this page- please keep an eye out for updates.

What can YOU do about the government’s plan to repeal Aotearoa’s world leading Smokefree Legislation 

There are lots of ways you can support the Smokefree Legislation:


Kia kaha, 

The ASPIRE Aotearoa team.