Last updated: January 19, 2024
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 limited exceptions. 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
Standardized (plain) packaging is required for all tobacco products. Packaging must be a standard color, size, and shape and may only contain specified information and the prescribed health warnings in a standard font. On cigarettes, a pictorial health warning in English must cover 75 percent of the front of the package; a pictorial health warning in English and te reo Maori and the Quitline logo must cover 100 percent of the back of the package; and an additional warning must occupy one side of the package. Health warning requirements vary for other tobacco products.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law grants the authority to regulate harmful constituents in cigarettes. The regulations state that tobacco products may smell only of manufactured tobacco or menthol. Further, the sale of cigarettes containing any synthetic or naturally occurring chemical or ingredient similar to nicotine or synthetic nicotine is prohibited. The law requires that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of single cigarettes, small packs of cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco products (except for nasal snuff). Vending machines sales and internet sales of tobacco products are restricted. However, there are no restrictions on the sale of tobacco products based on location. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
The law permits the sale of e-cigarettes. Restrictions on the public use of e-cigarettes are similar to those on smoking – use is prohibited in most indoor public places, indoor workplaces, and on public transport subject to a few exceptions. E-cigarette advertising, promotion and sponsorship is restricted, and product display at points of sale is permitted. A text-only health warning is required on at least 32% of the front and back surfaces of e-cigarette product packaging. The sale of e-cigarettes is prohibited to persons under the age of 18. The law requires specialist e-cigarette retailers to be at least 300 meters from a registered school or marae.
Heated Tobacco Products
The sale of heated tobacco products (HTPs) is allowed. Existing smoking restrictions apply to HTPs. The law generally prohibits the direct and indirect advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco inserts and devices, with several exceptions. Text-only health warnings are required to cover 32 percent of the front and back of tobacco insert and device packaging.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 is the primary tobacco control law in New Zealand and regulates smoke free places; advertising, promotion and sponsorship; packaging and labeling; HTPs; and e-cigarettes. The primary Act has been amended several times. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Regulations 2021 contain implementing details for the provisions of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990, including prescribing the latest round of health warning labels and the requirements of plain (standardized) packaging.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.