Continued decline in smoking rates


Continued decline in smoking rates

Last year TDB Advisory and Infometrics undertook a cost-effectiveness review of the controversial Smoked Tobacco Amendment Act. Our report projected that smoking rates were already declining to the point that the country did not need a ban to achieve the Smokefree national target.

The results of the latest National Health Survey released in December 2023 are entirely consistent with our projections. The latest data reveals the number of current smokers fell during the year from 8.6% down to 6.8%. Smoking amongst Māori still exceeds the national average, but fell by 20% over the year, as presented in the two tables below.


  • Smoking rates were revised up for 2021/22, with the estimate of current smokers revised up from 9.2% to 9.8% of adults and daily smokers from 8.0% to 8.6%. It is not clear what new information informed these revisions.
  • The downward trend in smoking rates continued in 2022/23, with the estimated current rate declining from 9.8% in 2021/22 to 8.3% in 2022/23. The prevalence of daily smoking likewise declined from 8.6% to 6.8%.
  • Māori remain the ethnic group with the highest smoking propensity, which at 17.1% is more than double the national average of 8.3%. However, the very large annual decline in smoking rates for Pacific peoples (from 18.1% to 6.4%) does highlight potential problems with the NHS accurately measuring smoking rates for ethnic groups.

The projections of smoking rates used in the TDBI July 2023 report are completely consistent with the NHS data. The latest NHS estimated actual smoking rates for 2022/23, (8.3% for current smokers and 6.8% for daily smokers) are fully consistent with the projections for 2022/23 made in the TDBI report (of 7.8% for current smokers and 6.8% for daily smokers). The upward revision to the NHS estimate for 2021/22 could, if anything, be interpreted as implying a faster rate of decline in smoking rates than anticipated in TDB’s Cost-effectiveness Review.

Featured in the TDB Digest March 2023

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2024-03-12T08:57:12+00:00March 2nd, 2024|Government, Health, Regulatory Expertise, Strategic reviews|Comments Off on Continued decline in smoking rates