Students lie in 'deathly silence' outside Parliament in protest against death by smoking

Students have laid on the front lawn of Parliament this morning to protest the 5000 New Zealanders who die from smoking-related illnesses every year.

In 2011, the government committed to making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.

The Smokefree Coalition took the anti-smoking message right to the heart of Government. Source: 1 NEWS

But the Smokefree Coalition, which organised the protest, said five years later they were still waiting for a strategy.

Head girl at Aotea College Joyce Soudachanh, 18, said she took part in the protest because young people needed to be the smoke-free generation.

"We're a lot smarter and we're more educated about the harms of smoking," Ms Soudachanh said.

Student Norma McLean, 13, said her family members had suffered strokes and lung problems from a lifetime of smoking.

"I worry because I don't want them to die early," Ms McLean said.

She said her family's smoking had given her brother asthma.

"It's really sad to see him struggle through that. Every time we have a family reunion, he has to stay out of the room."

Student Leilani Naufahu, 14, said the anti-smoking message was important because many of her teenage friends had already started smoking.

"There are so many youth smoking, I know heaps of my friends do it," Ms Naufahu said.