New Year's resolutions and a 10 per cent price hike are believed to be behind a massive surge in calls to the national telehealth service Quitline.

Quitline CEO Andrew Slater says the service had its busiest day on Tuesday with more than 500 calls from people wanting to give up smoking - more than twice the number of calls the service received on a typical day last year.

Slater says the holiday season is a key moment for many of the 610,000 Kiwi smokers to try to kick the habit.

But Slater says smoking statistics in New Zealand are still too high. Most alarmingly the Ministry of Health found 14.8 per cent of pregnant women were smoking throughout their pregnancy, and the smoking rate for Maori women over 40 was still at a staggering 77 per cent.


The number one reason people listed for trying to kick the habit was still to improve their health, but Slater says the year-on-year increases in the cost of cigarettes are helping to lower smoking rates.