Effects of smoking


How smoking harms and kills us

Tobacco use and breathing in other people’s smoke (second-hand smoke) causes about 5,000 deaths every year through cancer, stroke and heart disease. It is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New Zealand.  To reduce your risk, you need to stop smoking completely, not just cut back. This is because people who are cutting back on the smokes draw harder on the cigarette and breathe in even more of the harmful chemicals.

If you smoke tobacco, odds are, you WILL be affected by it. Up to two-thirds of people who smoke today and continue smoking will eventually be killed by tobacco. Long-term smokers will die an average of 10 to 15 years early because of smoking.

There are five times the number of deaths from tobacco use each year, than from drowning, suicide and motor vehicle accidents combined.




Smoking causes one in four cancer deaths in New Zealand.

  • It is a major cause of blindness, with about 1,300 people in New Zealand having untreatable blindness due to current and past smoking.
  • If you are pregnant, inhaled smoke is a poison that enters your bloodstream and pass through the placenta to the baby. These poisons harm your baby’s health.
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), stomach and bladder.
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing diseases of the urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract.
  • Forty percent of all strokes in people aged under 65 years are caused by smoking.
  • Forty percent of heart disease in those under 65 is caused by smoking.
  • Smokers have two-to-three times the risk of having a sudden cardiac death (when the heart suddenly stops beating) than non-smokers.



What’s in a cigarette









Effects on the body


Learn about all the nasties that exist in a cigarette - it may put you off smoking for good.​

This interactive tool shows you exactly how smoking harms the body.​

What is smoking doing to your body
What's in a cigarette?

For more information click here.

Reasons to Quit


Hapū Māmā


Effects on baby before and after pregnancy

  • If you are pregnant, quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you will ever make, for you and your baby.
  • When you smoke, poisons enter your bloodstream, then pass through the placenta to baby. These poisons harm your baby’s health. This puts baby at risk of numerous problems including Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI), glue ear, asthma and leukemia.

  • We offer support to help pregnant women stop smoking this can include whānau/family stop smoking support too. He taonga tāu pepi. 
  • You can use nicotine patches, gum or lozenges when you are pregnant. These will help ease the cravings and are far safer than smoking.
  • Staying quit after baby is born is still important. The first six weeks is a time many women find challenging. Even if you don’t smoke around baby, poisons from cigarettes will stay in your clothes and hair. Baby will be exposed to these.
  • For more information click here


He taonga tāu pēpi.

For support to get off the smoke for your pepi,

we offer an incentive-based stop smoking programme for Hapū Māmā.