New Zealand’s new “smokefree” law is breath of fresh air that puts Australia to shame

New Zealand has taken a huge leap forward in its efforts towards a smokefree society in a move that brings its laws on vaping in line with the UK’s – and in many ways surpasses them.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (vaping) Amendment Bill strikes a balance between ensuring that safe, good-quality products are readily available for adult smokers in New Zealand looking to quit while minimising appeal and access to young people.

Not only does this move pave the way for many more smokers to be able to access vaping products with confidence, it also puts its near neighbour Australia’s vaping policies to shame.

In Australia, nicotine e-liquid is regulated like tobacco. However, the NZ government understands that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking and allows retailers to provide the following messages:

“Completely replacing your cigarette with a vape will reduce harm to your health”


“If you smoke, switching completely to vaping is a much less harmful option”

The UK already leads the world when it comes to ensuring that smokers have access to vaping products and services and New Zealand’s progressive new laws, while not perfect, are a hugely welcome development especially at a time when the World Health Organisation continues its baseless attacks on vaping’s place in global harm reduction.

In some respects, New Zealand’s new vaping laws go even further than our own towards helping smokers to transition, mirroring the UKVIA’s own recommendations to the Tobacco and Regulated Products Regulations (TRPR) review, as documented in our Blueprint for Better Regulation document.

Notable developments include:

  • Notifying health authorities that a product has met the safety and quality standards before it can be sold
  • Nicotine limits set at 20mg/ml for freebase nicotine and 50mg/mL for nicotine salt products
  • Containers should be no more than 120 ml and must be protected against breakage, leakage, spilling and have child-resistant closures
  • Minimum age of sale of 18 years, no vaping in cars with children and a ban on cartoons or toys on packages
  • Government approved messaging
  • Retail outlets restricted to sell only tobacco, mint or menthol e-liquids
  • Vape shops can sell a range of flavoured e-liquids

We applaud New Zealand’s bold and brave approach to vaping, now enshrined into law, and can only encourage Australia and other countries with regressive, anti-harm reduction attitudes towards vaping to look again at the enormous role vaping can play in helping smokers to give up combustible tobacco for good.




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