Māori and smoking

Māori have one of the highest smoking rates in New Zealand. Smoking is more common in areas with a higher Māori population, and in low income areas. 

Tobacco is not a Māori tradition before the arrival of the Pākēha, the Māori world was Tupeka Kore (tobacco free). 

The number of Māori smokers is going down, but it is still over double that of NZ European smokers.


The number of Māori smokers  The number of NZ European smokers


Tobacco is the only legally available product that kills up to half of its regular users when used as recommended

Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of preventable death for Māori in New Zealand. Māori have one of the highest rates of smoking, compared to other ethnicities, in New Zealand, and this contributes towards the difference in health between Māori and non-Māori, with Māori suffering poorer health outcomes.

Click here to take the journey of the impact tobacco has had on Māori:



Everybody has a role in achieving Smokefree Aotearoa 2025

As parents, elders, iwi leaders, or peers:

  • talk about being Smokefree
  • hold Smokefree community events
  • make yours a Smokefree car, home, marae. 
  • ask friends, family and whānau to be Smokefree role models, and not smoke around the kids 

Tobacco, Not Our Tikanga



Quitline   Smokefree 2025