Although the medical profession has cracked its smokefree target of less than 5 per cent, statistics show there were more women smokers than men.

Research released today in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows just 2 per cent of New Zealand doctors smoke.

Nursing staff were a bit higher - but there were more of them - with 9 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women nurses were regular smokers.

Census data from 2013 showed there were 12,684 doctors and 39,126 nurses.


Smoking was more common among Maori doctors (7 per cent) and nurses (19 per cent).

However, if broken down by speciality, psychiatric nurses had the highest amount of smokers - 15 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women.

Among male doctors by speciality, gynaecologists and obstetrictians were more likely to smoke.

Female surgeons had the highest prevelance to smoke while no female gynaecologists or obstetricians - 0 per cent - were smokers.

Researchers found that smoking had steadily declined so far this century, especially since the 2006 census which showed 13 per cent of female nurses smoking and 20 per cent of male nurses.

But the new data showed about 90 per cent of doctors aged 25-44 had never been regular smokers, while 85 per cent of doctors had never smoked including 95 per cent of doctors aged under 25.

"The findings suggest that New Zealand doctors had achieved the Smokefree 2025 goal of minimal (less than 5 per cent) smoking prevalence and all nurses except psychiatric nurses were on track to do so.

"Targeted workplace smoking cessation support could be used to reduce smoking among key occupational groups such as Māori nurses," researchers wrote.