Pacific Islanders and smoking

Pacific Islanders have one of the highest smoking rates in New Zealand. This has huge implications for the health of Pacific Island peoples. 

However, there are also differences in smoking prevalence between Pacific Island sub groups. 

Fijian rates are lower than the New Zealand average at 13.3 percent and Rarotongans with the highest rate of 36.8 percent, higher even than Maori smoking prevalence at 32.7 percent.

Graph showing the percentage of smokers in 2013

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 Pacific Islanders in New Zealand.

Australian research has recently indicated that up to two thirds of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their addiction. Tobacco use is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death globally. This includes ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tuberculosis and lung cancer.Smoking harms almost every organ in the body, and is responsible for nearly 5,000 deaths every year in New Zealand.


People perform a song


Everybody has a role in achieving Smokefree Aotearoa 2025

As parents, elders, leaders, or peers:

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

Protect your children from the effects of smoking, Quit today