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Home \Legislation by Country \New Zealand \  Summary
Last updated: June 9th 2017

Introduction

New Zealand became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.

Smoke Free Places: Smoking is prohibited in indoor workplaces and indoor public places with very limited exceptions. Smoking is also generally prohibited on all public transportation, again with some very limited exceptions (such as when a taxi is not in use, or when all persons in a small passenger vehicle agree that smoking should be permitted). There are also limited restrictions on smoking in outdoor places, namely in outdoor areas of schools and early childhood education centers. Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law, provided they do not conflict with national law.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: There is a near comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and promotion, including a ban on the display of all tobacco products at points of sale. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: There are different requirements for various tobacco products sold in New Zealand. For cigarettes, a pictorial health warning in English must cover 30 percent of the front of the package; a pictorial health warning in English and te reo Maori and the Quitline logo must cover 90 percent of the back of the package; and an information message must occupy one entire side of the package. For loose or pipe tobacco, a pictorial health warning in English must occupy 30 percent the front of the package; a pictorial health warning in English and te reo Maori and the Quitline logo must cover 50 percent of the back of the package; and an information message must occupy one entire side of the package. For cigars, a pictorial health warning in English and te reo Maori must occupy 25 percent of the front of the package; and a text-only health warning in English must occupy 35 percent of the back of the package. (The sale of smokeless tobacco products is prohibited.)

Misleading descriptors or other means of misleading packaging and labeling are not banned. The tobacco industry voluntarily does not use the terms “light” or “mild” but has replaced these terms with the equally misleading terms “mellow” and “smooth.”

Standardized packaging will be required for all tobacco products beginning on March 14, 2018 (with an additional 12 weeks for old stock to be sold). A new set of larger pictorial health warnings will also go into effect at that time.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 is the primary tobacco control law in New Zealand and regulates smoke free places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and tobacco packaging and labeling. The Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2007 were issued under the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and provide specifications for tobacco product health warnings and messages and related graphics.

The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Act 2016 and the Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2017 will enter into force on March 14, 2018. The Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2007 will be revoked at that time.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.