Smokefree 2025: Government plans to slash nicotine in cigarettes by 95 percent

A bold new proposal, thought to be a world first, is expected to be announced on Thursday as part of the Government's 2025 smokefree target.

The new plan is tipped to slash the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to 0.4mg per gram of tobacco.

That's a drop of more than 95 percent - cigarettes currently contain 16mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco. 

Sources have told The AM Show the proposal will be released at Thursday's Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 conference.

Auckland University public health professor Chris Bullen said the move will be a game changer. He said reducing nicotine in cigarettes works.

 "There's plenty of research from overseas and also here in New Zealand to show that it does help people who even don't want to quit, start to contemplate quitting and then go on to take action," he told The AM Show on Thursday.

"Cigarettes will still be harmful but they just won't be as addictive - they won't give you the same sort of feedback.

"We need to provide smokers who are making the transition with fantastic support."

The Government came under fire in December after Newshub revealed it hadn't made a plan to achieve the Smokfree 2025 goal - nine years after the goal was set.

At the time, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who took over the portfolio from Jenny Salesa after last year's election, couldn't say why Salesa hadn't developed a plan.