The information on this page applies to all manufacturers, importers, distributors, general retailers and specialist vape retailers. For additional information for these specific industry types see:
Prohibition on advertising
From 11 November 2020, the existing prohibition on the advertisement of tobacco products is extended to vaping products.
This means it is prohibited to encourage the use, promote the sale, or notify the availability of vaping products.
Vaping products include vaping substances such as e-liquids/‘vape juice’ as well as e-cigarettes and other vaping devices such as those used with heated tobacco products.
However, the prohibition on advertising does not include any of the following activities, provided the activity complies with any applicable regulations:
- price lists given to retailers, provided they display any required health messages
- advertisements published by a manufacturer that are intended only for their employees
- public health messages that are issued by the Director-General of Health and funded by a public service
- the display of vaping products inside a retailer’s premises or on their website
- information provided in a retailer’s place of business relating to vaping being a less harmful alternative to smoking
- advice given by a suitably qualified health worker to help people switch from smoking to vaping
- research relating to notifiable products, or about encouraging smokers to switch to less harmful products
- information provided by manufacturers or importers to retailers about the use of notifiable products
- communications about vaping products from specialist vape retailers to their existing customers
- price lists in a retailer’s premises, on their website, or on automatic vending machines, provided:
- they only identify the vaping products available
- they use only printed or written words (or spoken words, in the case of a retailer’s premises)
- public notices indicating that regulated products are generally available and the location(s) where they can be purchased, using only printed or written words, and provided that they comply with any regulations
- the retailer’s name or trade name on the outside of their premises, provided the name does not signify regulated products can be purchased, is not a trademark of a regulated product, and is not the name of a manufacturer or importer of regulated products (exception for SVR's).
See vaping information for distributors and retailers for guidance on oral communications with customers about vaping products.
Prohibition on sponsorship
From 11 November 2020, the existing prohibition on the sponsorship of tobacco products is extended to vaping products.
This means that:
- trademarks, logos, branding, etc relating to vaping products must not be used to sponsor an organised activity or event in New Zealand
- manufacturers, importers, distributors, or retailers must not sponsor an organised activity in New Zealand based on an arrangement for them to be the sole supplier of vaping products for the activity or event
- articles that are not vaping products must not bear a trademark or name related to such a product
- trademarks or names related to a vaping product must not be used for advertising or identifying any service, activity, event, scholarship, fellowship, or other educational benefit.
Prohibitions on free/discounted/bundled distribution or supply
From 11 November 2020, a number of prohibitions on the distribution of tobacco products are extended to vaping products. These include that:
- vaping products must not be distributed for free or at a reduced charge, except:
- by a specialist vape retailer from their approved vaping premises or approved internet site
- as part of a publicly-funded smoking cessation programme
- vaping products must not be packaged together with other types of product or distributed/supplied with other types of product at a single price (although they can be purchased at the same time within the same transaction and then bagged or shipped together)
- the purchaser of a vaping product must not be offered a gift, cash rebate, or the right to participate in a contest, lottery or game, in consideration for their purchase, except:
- by a specialist vaping retailer at their approved vaping premises or approved internet site
- retailers may not be offered a gift, cash rebate, or the right to participate in a contest, lottery or game in relation to:
- the purchase or sale of vaping products by the retailer
- the advertising of vaping products in the retailer’s premises
- the location of vaping products in the retailer’s premises.
Prohibitions on colouring and flavourings
From 11 May 2021, manufacturers and retailers can no longer supply or sell any vaping liquids that contain a colouring substance. A ‘colouring substance’ is defined as a substance used to add colour to, or alter the colour of, a vaping substance.
In addition, from 11 August 2021 all retailers must comply with the requirements of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act, which includes restrictions relating to flavours that can be sold by retailers in New Zealand
Section 65(2) requires that, from 11 August 2021, a retailer who is not a specialist vape retailer must not sell notifiable products that contain a clearly noticeable smell or taste (‘flavour’) that is not tobacco, menthol or mint (unless the products are part of a smoking cessation programme). The requirement in the Act is that vaping products sold by general retailers from that date can only be tobacco, mint and/or menthol flavour – this does not just relate to a product’s primary flavour, it is that these must be the only flavours. Schedule 2 of the Act refers to ‘classes of flavours’ to allow for variants within those flavours, such as spearmint and peppermint, it does not allow those products to contain other clearly noticeable flavours such as fruits or desserts.
Note that whilst the Act places restrictions based on the noticeable flavour of a product rather than on how its flavours are described, other legislation may place requirements or obligations on how product flavours can be described.
Example 1: if an e-liquid called ‘mango-mint’ clearly tastes or smells of both mango and mint then section 65(2) prohibits it from being sold by a general retailer as it contains a flavour that is not listed in Schedule 2 (i.e. mango, which is a fruit flavour).
Example 2: If the only clearly noticeable taste or smell from that same e-liquid was mint then, despite its name, its sale would not be prohibited under section 65(2), but the use of the name ‘mango-mint’ could be prohibited under the Fair Trading Act if it makes a false representation about the flavour of the e-liquid.
Example 3: If a heated tobacco product has clearly noticeable tastes or smells of both mint and tobacco, its sale would not be prohibited under section 65(2) as both those flavours are listed in Schedule 2.
Packaging and labelling
Requirements in relation to the packaging and labelling of vaping products may be set out in regulations.
Public consultation on the vaping regulations has now closed. The submissions are being analysed and the final regulations will be published in due course. At this stage it is expected the final regulations will come into force by 11 August 2021, although some provisions may be phased in over time.
Offences and penalties
The Act sets out a number of offences and penalties for breaches of its provisions.