Information for retailers and distributors of notifiable products

An overview of notifiable products (vaping, herbal smoking and smokeless tobacco) retailing in New Zealand

There are two classes of notifiable product retailers in New Zealand:

  • General retailers - a retailer that sells notifiable products which includes  a limited vaping product range of flavours (tobacco, menthol and mint). These notifiable products are not the primary products they sell e.g. dairies, newsagents, supermarkets etc.
  • Specialist Vape Retailers (SVR)  - a retailer that sells vaping products with the full range of flavours. These retailers have been approved by the Vaping Regulatory Authority as they meet the prescribed criteria outlined below. A SVR may sell other notifiable products, but over 70% of sales are from vaping products.
  • If you’d like to become a Specialist Vape Retailer, you must go through the application process and be approved. General retailers of notifiable products do not require any prior approval to operate, but by 1 October 2023 they must have notified the Ministry they sell these products. More details on how to do this will be available later in the year after the Regulations are approved. Sign up to the newsletter to keep informed.

Prohibitions and requirements

There are some obligations and restrictions that apply to all retailers of notifiable products and some that are specific to general retailers. These include the way you can advertise and promote notifiable products and who you can sell to.

Becoming a Specialist Vape Retailer (SVR)

A retailer can apply to become a Specialist Vape Retailer if:

  • they sell vaping products in New Zealand from at least one retail premises
  • the retail premises from which they will sell vaping products is a fixed, permanent structure
  • the proportion of their sales from vaping products from their retail premises is at least 70%, or at least 60% if the Vaping Regulatory Authority are satisfied that the lower sales threshold is appropriate in the circumstances.

Note, an online-only business cannot be a Specialist Vape Retailer as they do not have physical retail premises. However, online-only businesses may operate as wholesale distributors of vaping products, provided they do not sell direct to the public.

If you wish to trade as a Specialist Vape Retailer you need to apply to the Vaping Regulatory Authority.

Record-keeping requirements

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act received Royal assent on Friday 16 December 2022 and new provisions came into effect from 1 January 2023.

Under the new provisions, manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors and retailers of regulated products (smoked tobacco, vaping, herbal smoking and smokeless tobacco products) are responsible for keeping accurate records relating to all of their regulated products.

Manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors and retailers of a regulated product must take reasonable steps to keep accurate records of:

  1. all the regulated products that they manufacture, import, export, buy, sell, or supply; and
  2. for a manufacturer, the constituents required by regulations to be recorded that the manufacturer uses or intends to use in the manufacture of each regulated product.

Records must be kept for 3 years from the date of each transaction.

An enforcement officer may require a person to provide a copy of the records kept under this section by notice in writing.

The person must provide the enforcement officer with a copy of the records, in the format required in the notice, within 10 working days of receiving the notice.

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