Introduction to Smokefree Schools

Find out about the legal and educational requirements and how to create a smokefree culture.

A smokefree school is more than just a sign on the gate. Schools and early childhood education services are at the heart of communities. They are a place where everyone works together to ensure that young people have the best possible opportunity to achieve success and make positive choices.

Under the Smoke-free Environments Act schools, kura kaupapa, early childhood education centres, and kōhanga reo must be smokefree - indoors and out, 24/7.

National Administration Guideline (NAG) 5 focuses on educational health and safety. NAG 5 outlines the requirements of schools and you can find out more here about what that means in terms of being smokefree.

Smoking in front of young people normalises smoking as an acceptable behaviour.  So principals, boards of trustees, and managers of schools and early childhood centres must take all reasonably practical steps to make sure that no one smokes on the premises at any time, and that signage is prominently displayed. These signs should be at (or immediately inside) every entrance to the school and the outer entrance to every building or enclosed area forming part of the premises.

Displaying smokefree signage on all main buildings and entrances is a legal requirement.

Creating a smokefree culture in your school is easy with the right tools, resources and support –

  • There are a range of organisations in your area that can help you.
  • Displaying smokefree signage on all main buildings and entrances is a legal requirement. You can order these free from the Health Promotion Agency.
  • You can also create your own smokefree signage - download the logos here  to create your schools personalised signage or you can work with a sign production company such as Expandasign who offer special school rates. Download their flyer here.
  • Let visitors to the school know that your school is smokefree all day, everyday. Download, copy, and create your own Visitor Log Book in English, Te Reo Māori, or in both languages. Alternatively you can order a hard copy of the English or Te Reo Maori by emailing
  • Claim your school smokefree by painting the smokefree logo around your school boundary, on footpaths outside your school or on grass at outdoor events - order a free smokefree logo stencil.
  • Use the Smokefree 2025 logo on your school website, social media pages and newsletters. You can also use the logos on sun shelters and banners at events to increase and maintain awareness of the smokefree kaupapa.
  • Check out some of the latest facts and figures on smoking prevalance for youth.
  • There are a range of fact sheets that provide analysis on this data and other key findings (select ‘Tobacco control’ under categories and use keyword ‘youth’).
  • To find out more about current smoking behaviours, attitudes and knowledge and other health-related attitudes and behaviours among Year 10 students have a look at the New Zealand Youth Tobacco Monitor. This is a national school-based survey run by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH). 
  • The Smoke-free Environments Act bans smoking in indoor workplaces, early childhood centres and schools. This only applies to smoking. Learn about more about vaping at This website has information about how vaping differs from smoking, what the law is in relation to vaping, and trends is youth and adult use of vaping.

Page last updated: 16 Jul 2020