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Article | Maori nurses and smoking: what do we know?

This study was led by Dr. Heather Gifford. Heather is Research Director for ASPIRE2025 partner, Whakauae Research, and is the leader for our research theme, Māori Public Health and Tobacco Misuse.



A research partnership between NZNO, Whakauae Research, and Taupua Waiora aimed to determine Maori registered and student nurses’ smoking behaviours and attitudes to smoking cessation.


We analysed a national web-based survey that explored the behaviours and views of 410 NZNO Maori nurses, student nurses and other health workers using descriptive statistical analysis.


Findings confirm a smoking prevalence rate of 21.5% for all respondents— 32% for Maori nursing students and 20% for Maori nurses. Of smokers, 75% of nurses smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, 84% smoked outside their homes, and almost 20% indicated they were considering quitting within the next month. Most nurses who had attempted to, or had, quit did not use the range of smoking cessation interventions available.

Maori nurses see the value in smoking cessation for improving their own and other’s health, although many did not necessarily see themselves as effective in supporting Maori with smoking  prevention and cessation.


Prevalence rates for smoking among Maori registered nurses was lower than previous research and many of those still smoking indicate a strong intention to quit. Quit attempts in this occupation  group could be better informed by evidence.

Increasing the number of Maori nurses who are smokefree will have the added benefit of increasing the efficacy of cessation interventions with patients and whanau (extended families).


Gifford H., Wilson D., Boulton A., Walker L., Shepherd-Sinclair W. (2013) Maori nurses and smoking: what do we know? NZMJ Vol 126 No 1384; ISSN 1175 8716 (requires password to view until April 2014)


For more information on this research please contact:
Dr. Heather Gifford
Research DirectorWhakauae Research

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