Skip to content

Article | New Zealand adolescents’ discouragement of smoking among their peers

This new research suggests young people more often discourage smoking among their peers than encourage it.

Around half of 14- and 15- year old New Zealanders have carried out at least one behaviour during the past year to discourage smoking, most often by telling their peers that smoking is bad for their health; to stop smoking; that they do not like smoking; and that smoking is a waste of money.

By contrast, fewer than one in ten 14- and 15- year olds did something to encourage smoking among their peers, most typically by giving them a cigarette or offering to share a cigarette.

Full media release can be viewed here



This study examines the extent to which young people are acting as ‘agents of change’ in discouraging smoking among their peers.


This study used data from a survey of 2,919 New Zealand secondary school students who participated in the 2014 national Youth In-depth Survey. Relevant questions were used to assess the extent to which students engaged in behaviours to discourage or promote smoking among their peers.


About half of all students reported some form of behaviour discouraging others from smoking, while only one in ten reported encouraging smoking. Discouragement was associated with non-smoking or lower levels of smoking, having more friends who smoked, and exposure to more health promotion messages about not smoking. Māori and Pacific young people also reported more discouraging behaviours.


The results highlight the positive impact that young people can have on discouraging smoking among their peers.


Marsh, L., Iosua,E., McGee, R., White, J. (2017) New Zealand adolescents’ discouragement of smoking among their peers. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

For more information, please contact:
Louise Marsh
University of Otago

%d bloggers like this: