Smoke-free Environments Act

The Smoke-free Environments Act (the Act) was passed in 1990.

The purpose of the Act was to:

  • reduce the exposure of non-smokers to second-hand smoke
  • regulate the marketing, advertising and promotion of tobacco products
  • monitor and regulate the presence of harmful constituents in tobacco products and tobacco smoke
  • establish a Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) (the Health Sponsorship Council originally replaced tobacco sponsorship of sporting and cultural events. Now this requirement has passed, the HSC focuses on promoting health and healthy lifestyles through social marketing).

The Act:

  • placed restrictions on smoking in workplaces
  • required all workplaces to have a policy on smoking and to review that policy annually
  • placed bans on smoking in public transport and certain other public places, and restricted smoking in cafes, restaurants and casinos
  • regulated the marketing, advertising, and promotion of tobacco products and the sponsorship by tobacco companies of products, services and events
  • banned the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 16 years (raised to 18 years in 1998)
  • provided for the control, and disclosure, of the contents of tobacco products.

Regulations have:

  • regulated the size, placement and wording of labels and health warning messages on tobacco products, including the Māori warning message 'Ka mate koe i te kai hikareti' (smoking kills)
  • required annual testing/returns and reports on 'harmful constituents' for classes of tobacco products.
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