NZ’s New Vape Regs In Effect

Posted 16th August 2021 by Dave Cross
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act has come into effect in New Zealand that includes e-liquid flavour restrictions for general retailers. The country’s leading vape retailer VAPO says that banning 70% of vape products will only help government’s coffers.

In addition to the restriction on service stations, supermarkets and convenance stores selling anything other than tobacco, mint, and menthol flavours, the new Act (1) makes changes to the following areas:

  • Packaging
  • Health warnings on vaping products
  • Harm reduction notices
  • Safety messages on vaping products
  • Availability of vaping products notices
  • R18 notices at each point of sale
  • Manufacturer price lists
  • Requirements around vaping product safety
  • Submitting product notifications
  • Only selling notified vaping products
  • Annual reporting and returns for manufacturers, importers, and specialist vape retailers
  • Fees for manufacturers, importers, and retailers who wish to be specialist vape retailers

One industry leader says the move will sadly result in more cigarette sales – hampering Smokefree Aotearoa but boosting the Government’s rapidly diminishing tobacco tax take.

It’s crazy that Kiwis desperate to quit cigarettes can walk into a service station and buy any cigarette brand under the sun. They can’t, however, access the most popular vapes flavours. It makes no sense when vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking,” says Jonathan Devery, co-owner of the largest Kiwi-owned vape companies Alt New Zealand and VAPO.

He says the regulatory change will make it less likely for Kiwi smokers to make the safer switch, opting for the more readily available cigarettes instead.

Premier Ecigs

Both ex-smokers, Mr Devery and fellow business partner Ben Pryor believe the Government needs to monitor this new restriction like a hawk to ensure it’s not hampering its Smokefree Aotearoa reboot.

The latest service station industry data shows that tobacco sales – both in terms of volume and value – have been falling like a stone. It’s only because safer nicotine alternatives like ours have been on a rapid ascent. After achieving record low smoking rates, a return to cigarette smoking would be an absolute disaster,” says Mr Devery.

Leading the charge against smoking and Big Tobacco, the independent New Zealand vape business has catapulted in the past two years to becoming one of the largest suppliers – of all products supplied – to the country’s service stations.

Tobacco tax takings have been completely walloped by vaping, as Budget 2021 showed. It’s then a very interesting time to eliminate 70% of vaping products from the same general retail outlets that have traditionally been a cash cow for tobacco revenue,” says Mr Devery.

The entrepreneurs believe it’s well overdue for the Government to get tougher on Big Tobacco via its soon to be released smokefree action plan. As it stands, less harmful vaping remains more heavily regulated.


Unlike cigarette retailers, specialist vape stores have to be registered, enabling them to sell a wide range of flavours. With fewer dedicated vape stores in the likes of rural areas, Alt and VAPO’s owners believe many Kiwis trying to reduce or quit their cigarette habit will only find it harder.

Adults love flavours. They are key to successfully quitting cigarettes! Banning the most popular vape flavours like dessert and fruit variations in New Zealand’s highest traffic retail outlets, but leaving cigarette availability alone, makes no sense. Unless the Government is after a tobacco tax boost, it now needs to hit access to tobacco, and hard!”

“We eagerly await the Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall’s finalised Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan. If New Zealand is to ever achieve smokefree, the balance must be tilted in favour of safer nicotine alternatives,” says Jonathan Devery.


  1. Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Regulations 2021 -
  2. VAPO -

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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