23 Nov, 2023

The facts about smoking

Pacific men and boy playing tug of war

Did you know that in Aotearoa, a diagnosis of lung cancer is almost twice as likely in Pacific men than Pākehā? Men of Pacific descent are also two and a half times more likely to die from lung cancer.

But it's not just lung cancer. The list of illnesses caused by smoking is almost never-ending, yet so many people in our community struggle to quit. The incredibly addictive nature of smoking can make it feel impossible to give up.

Why is smoking so bad for you?

Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals, with over 70 of them known to cause cancer. The main ingredient in cigarettes is tobacco, but they also contain tar, a sticky brown substance used to seal roads. Not something we should really be breathing!

All of these chemicals make smoking incredibly dangerous to your health. If you think it won’t be you who gets sick from smoking, here’s a look at some of numbers:

Smokefree infographic

Still not convinced? Check out this interactive tool illustrating the impact that smoking has on our health.

The financial cost of smoking

With a pack of cigarettes costing roughly $40 and a pouch of tobacco being about $79, the cost of smoking is reason enough to quit.

Running some simple numbers, the cost of smoking one pack of 20 a day is:


which totals $1,120/month

which adds up to a staggering $13,440/ year!

Find out how much you could be saving if you quit smoking with this handy calculator from Smokefree NZ.

Even when we know the cost of smoking to both our physical and financial health, so many of us struggle to quit.

Why is it so hard to stop smoking?

Smoking is very addictive. Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that makes smoking addictive. It is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. This is because nicotine tricks our brain with positive chemicals that improve our mood, appetite, and memory. It convinces our brain that by smoking we feel better. Once someone is addicted to nicotine, they can feel a range of symptoms such as irritability, nausea, headaches and anxiety when they don’t have access to it. By smoking, you will feel temporarily better and less stressed, but the nicotine is keeping you in a cycle of withdrawal until you need it again. This is what makes it so difficult to quit smoking.

Are you ready for the next step in quitting?

Whether it's a conversation with a friend or a nudge from your whānau, the decision to quit is the best thing you can do for your health.

At The Fono, we are here to support your Smokefree journey.

You can join the programme one-one-one with a personal Quit Coach, or you can join a group.

The programme is flexible yet encouraging and our team of Quit Coaches are here for you through the withdrawals and emotional turmoil of giving up smoking.

Who can access the service:

Our free quit smoking support services are available to all people in the community aged 12 years old and over. You must be living in one of these areas:

  • Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) region
  • Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) region

If you do not live in one of these areas, we can provide referrals to other agencies to assist you.