Information about New Zealand’s Smokefree Environments Act and what you can do if you think it is being breached.


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The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 is the key piece of Smokefree legislation in New Zealand, it is among the most comprehensive pieces of tobacco control legislation in the world. Aotearoa New Zealand has been at the forefront of tobacco control internationally and has made steady progress in reducing smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption.

The Acts main aims are:

  • restricting the sale and supply of tobacco and vaping products to those over the age of 18
  • regulating and controlling the marketing, advertising, and promotion of vaping and tobacco products
  • discouraging people, especially children, young people, and non-smokers from taking up smoking and vaping 
  • reducing the exposure of people who do not themselves smoke to any detrimental effect on their health caused by smoking by others
  • regulating the safety of vaping products and smokeless tobacco products
  • monitoring and regulating the presence of harmful constituents found in regulated products and their emission.

New Zealand continues to step closer to the goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 by introducing amendments with bold measures to the Act.

Giving effect to the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan

The Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan was launched in 2021. This plan is guided by the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and contains six game-changing focus areas which will accelerate the progress towards a smokefree future and tackle the harm smoked tobacco products cause the people of New Zealand. 

To give effect to the Plan:

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act came into force on 1 January 2023 and makes three key changes to the Act:

  • From 1 July 2024, decreasing the numbers of retailers able to sell smoked tobacco products
  • From 1 April 2025, reducing the amount of nicotine that is allowed in smoked tobacco products
  • From 1 January 2027, prohibits the sale of smoked tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

A number of other changes were also introduced at this time.

You can read more about these changes and the development of regulations needed to implement these changes at the Ministry of Health website

Vaping Products

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 (the Amendment Act) commenced on 11 November 2020. The Amendment Act amended the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (original act name from 1990) and renamed it the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 (the Act).

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 strikes a balance between ensuring vaping products are available for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative and ensuring these products aren’t marketed or sold to young people.

The provisions of the act were/are phased in over a 15-month period, some took effect straight away and others over time.

Smokefree vehicles 

The Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Act 2020 became law on 28 November 2021 and prohibits smoking and vaping in motor vehicles carrying children and young people under 18 years of age.

Standardised Packaging

Standardised packaging for cigarettes and tobacco was introduced into New Zealand in March 2018. This Amendment introduced the following changes:

  • Cigarettes can only be sold in packs of either 20 or 25 sticks. Loose tobacco must be sold in pouches of 30 or 50 grams.
  • There are brand names on tobacco products, but regulations set how these look, where they are on the pack, font, size, and colours.
  • All tobacco packets must be the same dark brown/green background colour.
  • Pictures and health warnings are enlarged to cover at least 75% of the front of tobacco packs.
  • All tobacco company marketing imagery is removed.

A set of new health warning messages and images was also introduced at this time.

Find out more

Read more about Smokefree legislation on the Ministry of Health website 


Page last updated: 12 Dec 2023