Nurses respond to ‘What Smokers Really Want’

In the video, What Smokers Really Want, patients who smoke talk about the smoking cessation support they would like from health professionals.


The goal of Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa/New Zealand’s multimedia campaign is to improve brief stop smoking interventions based on the perspectives of people who smoke. The campaign is based on a series of very short videos. In the first, 11 current or ex-smokers speak candidly about their experiences with general practitioners and practice nurses.

“When I went and saw the doctor about quitting smoking, basically what was said to me was I had to stop hanging out with my friends if I wanted to quit. And as soon as I heard that I just shut out.” (Levi, 19 years)

“My doctor said to me, asked me if I smoked, I said yes, and he said, you should stop smoking. And that’s about as far as it went. He just said I should stop smoking, never told me how.” (Greg, 49)

“They asked me do you smoke …but I always just felt like they were ticking the box. Asking me a set of questions that they were obliged to ask, as opposed to the questions coming from the heart.” (Jaime, 26)

The smokers and ex-smokers go on to say what would help them quit. They believe in their doctors and nurses and ask for ongoing support and encouragement, follow up and to be given choices and personalized care.
In a second video, New Zealand’s Associate Minister of Health, and the chief nurse, issue a call to action for all nurses to treat smoking. Four nurses deliver brief stop smoking interventions to four patients in rural and urban health settings. The patients reflect groups with high needs. They include a pregnant teenager, a Maori mother of five, a Caucasian man and a Pacific Island mother who is also a nursing student. They agreed to be filmed to help others stop smoking.

The encounters emphasise relationship building, communication and stop smoking support skills tailored for different people. The nurses bring their individual flavours to the encounters but stay within the New Zealand Guidelines for Helping People Stop Smoking (Ministry of Health, 2014). Five further two minute videos feature each nurse/patient dyad and nicotine replacement therapy. The videos are available at

The campaign was funded by the Ministry of Health’s “Pathway to Smokefree New Zealand 2025 Innovation Fund”. The New Zealand government has a goal of a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

The videos have been received positively since they were launched. They are ideal for teaching. Most (91%) of a class of undergraduate students (n=33) rated them positively .They perceived the videos as positive and helpful. They liked the wide variety of real nurses and patients who portray “the honest truth from people”. Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa has had numerous requests for the videos for teaching Registered Nurses. The most common comment is about their practical and empowering nature. Viewers also comment on the beautiful New Zealand scenery and cultural iconography.

Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa/New Zealand invites you to view the videos and background material on the website. Email comments and questions to Grace Wong.