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Health Promot J Austr. 2011 Dec;22(3):166-71.

Impact of national smokefree environments laws on teachers, schools and early childhood centres.

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  • 1Centre for Tobacco Control Research, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



New Zealand's (NZ) smokefree legislation, implemented on 1 January 2004, requires that all school and early childhood centre buildings and grounds are 100% smokefree; one aim being to prevent young people being influenced by seeing people (including teachers) smoke there. This study, conducted in 2008, investigated teachers'smoking behaviour and perceived adherence to the legislation.


A national NZ cross-sectional survey of 2,004 teachers (oversampling Māori), who were randomly selected from the electoral roll of registered voters and sent postal invitations to complete an anonymous survey.


The response rate was 70%. Current smokers numbered 7%, and proportionately more Maori and Pacific Island teachers (12% each) smoked than European/Other teachers (7%). Of current smokers, 37% smoked non-daily. Smokers smoked less on work than non-work days. Introducing smokefree legislation was associated with teachers changing when they smoked, cutting down, quitting or trying to quit. Perceived compliance with the legislation was high, although 30% of teachers reported seeing staff smoking. Proportionately, significantly more teachers from low than from high socioeconomic schools perceived poor compliance and staff visibly smoking.


Smokefree legislation affects people's smoking behaviour. Smoking in NZ is becoming confined to population subgroups defined by socioeconomic status and ethnicity. Our findings argue for supporting cessation among those who work with children and young people, and for targeting support at school communities in areas of low socioeconomic status or with large populations of Māori or Pacific peoples.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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