Last updated: August 17th 2020


New Zealand became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.

Smoke Free Places

Smoking is prohibited in indoor workplaces and indoor public places with very limited exceptions. Smoking is also generally prohibited on all public transportation, again with some very limited exceptions (such as when a taxi is not in use, or when all persons in a small passenger vehicle agree that smoking should be permitted). There are also limited restrictions on smoking in outdoor places, namely in outdoor areas of schools and early childhood education centers. Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law, provided they do not conflict with national law.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

There is a near comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and promotion, including a ban on the display of all tobacco products at points of sale. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling

Standardized (plain) packaging is required for all tobacco products. Packaging must be a standard color, size, and shape and may only contain specified information and the prescribed health warnings in a standard font. On cigarettes, a pictorial health warning in English must cover 75 percent of the front of the package; a pictorial health warning in English and te reo Maori and the Quitline logo must cover 100 percent of the back of the package; and an additional warning must occupy one side of the package. Health warning requirements vary for other tobacco products. (The sale of smokeless tobacco products is prohibited.)

Cigarette Contents and Disclosures

The law grants the authority to regulate harmful constituents in cigarettes; however, no subsequent regulations have been issued. The law requires that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.

Sales Restrictions

The law prohibits the sale of single cigarettes, small packs of cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco products. Vending machines sales and internet sales of tobacco products are restricted. However, there are no restrictions on the sale of tobacco products based on location. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation

The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 is the primary tobacco control law in New Zealand and regulates smoke free places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and tobacco packaging and labeling. The primary Act has been amended several times. The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Act 2016 requires plain packaging for all tobacco products as of June 6, 2018. The Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2017 revoke the Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2007 and establish new rounds of health warning labels and requirements for product packaging and labeling.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.