Smoking cessation

Stopping smoking isn’t easy. But hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders have done it, and you can too.

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.

If you smoke tobacco, odds are, you WILL be affected by it.

  • 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 passes through the placenta to the baby.
  • 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.

Cost of smoking calculator

Quitting smoking is like giving yourself a pay rise. Use this calculator tool to see just how much you could be saving once you go smokefree.

I need help

Ropata Health have a smoking cessation advisor on-site on Thursdays who is available for face-to-face appointments, or who may contact you to offer help and advice on how to quit smoking.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

The main reason that people smoke is because they are addicted to nicotine. NRT is a medication that provides you with a low level of nicotine, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals present in tobacco smoke. It can help reduce unpleasant withdrawal effects, such as bad moods and cravings, which may occur when you stop smoking.

Where to get it and how to use it

NRT can be bought from pharmacies and some shops. It’s also available on prescription from a doctor or NHS stop smoking service.

It’s available as:

  • skin patches
  • chewing gum
  • inhalators (which look like plastic cigarettes)
  • tablets, oral strips and lozenges
  • nasal and mouth spray
  • Varenicline (Champix)

Smoking cessation medications

Varenicline (brand name Champix) is a medicine that works in 2 ways. It reduces cravings for nicotine like NRT, but it also blocks the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking. Evidence suggests it’s the most effective medicine for helping people stop smoking.

Where to get it and how to use it

Varenicline is only available on prescription, so you’ll usually need to see your doctor to get it.

It’s taken as 1 to 2 tablets a day. You should start taking it a week or 2 before you try to quit.

A course of treatment usually lasts around 12 weeks, but it can be continued for longer if necessary.


Quitline is open 24/7 and can help you quit in a number of different ways. You can ring, text, email or do it all online. 

Call Quitline free on 0800 778 778 or text 4006. Quit Advisors work with people to make a plan. People who use Quitline’s services and support are more likely to successfully quit than those who try to quit alone.

  • At Quitline’s website, people can register for free help, plus see how much money they are saving by quitting – there’s a ‘Quit Stats’ tool. There’s also really good info about vaping to quit.
  • Join Quitline’s blog community for 24 hour support from people who are going through just the same trials.
  • Quitline has a Facebook page at
  • Register by phone, text or online and get sent texts to help motivate you as you quit.  
  • 24/7 personal support for both phone and text services.
  • Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges can double someone’s chances of successfully quitting. They are $5 each when you order them from Quitline by phone, text or online. The team can also give advice on other stop smoking medication options.