Specialist Vape Retailer applications

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See also: Specialist Vape Retailer Register


Specialist Vape Retailer (SVR) means a person who is approved by the Director-General as a specialist vape retailer under section 14A of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 (the SERPA)

Approved Vaping Premise (AVP) means the premises to which a person’s approval as a specialist vape retailer applies

Approved Internet Site (AIS) means the website to which a person’s approval as a specialist vape retailer applies

Example of how SVR applications work together

Example of how SVR applications work together - see text description for explanation

A business (Vapagogo) needs to create and submit one Specialist Vape Retailer Application. The business then creates and submits individual applications for each Approved Vaping Premise (AVP #1, #2 & #3) and Approved Internet Site (www.vapagogo) they have.

Who may need to complete SVR Applications?

Transitional Specialist Vape Retailers

Must have their applications submitted, processed and approved before 11 November 2021 or they must trade as a General Retailer from that date.

General retailers to become SVR

Must continue trading as a general retailer until their applications have been submitted, processed and approved.


Importers/manufacturers/distributors cannot apply to be an SVR. However, the retailers they sell products to may apply to be an SVR. If you an importer/manufacturer/distributor also who sells at retail then you can apply to be an SVR as well. SVRs are the ones that own the vaping products and sell them to the public.

Franchiser/franchisee situation

If you want to operate as an SVR using a franchisor/franchisee model, please get one key person to contact the Vaping Regulatory Authority at [email protected] to discuss who needs to complete which applications. That key person will be responsible for communicating the outcome with the whole franchise group, and we anticipate that they will generally represent the franchisor.

The key question when deciding which applications to make is who actually owns and sells the products? An SVR owns the products they sell from their AVPs and AISs.

Setting up a new specialist vape store

Section 14A(2)(b) of the SERPA allows retailers whose sales from vaping products in their fixed, permanent retail premises are or will be greater than the relevant sales threshold to apply to be a specialist vape retailer in respect of those premises. This is to allow new specialist vape retailers to start-up or transition from being a general retailer.

For retailers that don’t yet meet the sales threshold, the Vaping Regulatory Authority (VRA) will assess their specialist vape retailer and approved vaping premises applications based on the retailer’s plan to meet the prescribed sales threshold. This will generally include the VRA agreeing a date with the retailer by which they must meet the relevant sales threshold and setting interim targets to ensure that they are progressing in line with their plan. If the retailer fails to meet those interim targets, the VRA may ultimately cancel the retailer’s approvals if the retailer is unable to meet the sales threshold by the agreed date. Retailer applications will only be assessed after the relevant assessment fees have been paid.

Note that there is no facility in the Act for the VRA to allow a specialist vape retailer under the transitional self-election scheme, which runs from 11 November 2020 to 10 November 2021, if their sales do not already meet the required 50% sales threshold.

Help documents

Specialist Vape Retailer eligibility check

Ensure you are eligible before submitting applications (and paying for them to be assessed).

Timeline for General/Transitional/Specialist Vape Retailers

Dates of when changes apply, and applications need to be made.

How To Apply – Specialist Vape Retailer Applications

HARP Users - People with more than one business or businesses with more than one person

If you have more than one business or your business has more than one person, you only need one HARP login per person.  Each person’s account can be associated with more than one business provided they are authorised to act for each business.

Each person should create their own login from the HARP home page by clicking ‘Log In’ and completing the account creation process in the Ministry’s Digital Identity platform.

Each person should then login and complete a Vaping Registration (ACCREG) for each business they are responsible for. They must use the same email address and user details each time or HARP may create duplicate records and they may not then be able to see all of their businesses when they try to lodge applications or product notifications.

What information you need before you make your applications and prompts on how to use the HARP portal to make the applications.

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