NZVA objective is to be the voice of e-cigarette and e-liquid retailers, manufacturers and suppliers alongside providing a voice for the vaping community to policy makers, media and researchers in New Zealand.


·       Currently the legislative framework prevents New Zealanders from accessing quality harm reduction products like e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. We believe this needs to change.


·       NZVA believes that existing legislation covering e-cigarettes is inadequate for these products. We believe that the evidence is increasingly showing that e-cigarettes have an important role in harm-reduction and as a result public health benefits.


·       NZVA supports a new legislative approach to e-cigarettes that allows adult consumers to have access to high-quality vaping products.


·       We believe a new Bill covering this product category is the right way forward that incorporates the British Standards Institutes PAS 54115 Vaping products, including electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, e-shisha and directly related products – Manufacture, importation, testing and labelling – Guide.


Specifically, PAS 54115 provides guidance on:


     The manufacture, importation, labelling, marketing and sale of vaping products (VP) including electronic cigarettes, e-shisha, DIY e-liquid mixing kits, and directly related products

     Purity of e-liquid ingredients in manufacture, contaminants arising from device materials and potential emissions from device operation, electrical safety, and metals and carbonyls in emissions

     Test solution liquid and an outline for the toxicological and chemical analysis of emissions

     The safety of batteries and chargers


Further to this, NZVA believes the current advice provided by the Ministry of Health should reflect the latest advice from Public Health England E-cigarettes: an evidence update. Key findings include:


        the current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking

        nearly half the population (44.8%) don’t realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking

        there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers


The New Zealand Ministry of Health Advice on the use of E-Cigarettes states:


What is the current legislation of e-cigarettes?


The Medicines Act 1981 (Medicines Act) and the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (SFEA) regulate the sale, advertising and use of e-cigarettes and the liquids used in e-cigarettes.


It is illegal to sell an e-cigarette in New Zealand (with or without nicotine) while making a therapeutic claim (eg, claims to help smokers quit) but the product has not been approved for therapeutic use.


The Medicines Act regulates medicines and nicotine is a scheduled substance. No nicotine-containing e-cigarettes have been put forward for approval under the Medicines Act and there are currently no e-cigarettes (nor e-liquid) approved for therapeutic purposes and smoking cessation support. Only approved medicines can be advertised and sold. It is also illegal to advertise an overseas website where people can purchase nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or e-liquids.


Nicotine-containing e-cigarette products are tobacco products if they are manufactured from tobacco. The SFEA regulates the sale, supply and advertising of tobacco products.


The SFEA specifically prohibits the sale of tobacco products for other oral use (other than smoking). The use of tobacco-derived nicotine-containing e-cigarette falls within this definition and the sale of these products are prohibited.


Finally, the SFEA provides that products that look like tobacco products (toy tobacco products) and that can be used to simulate smoking, must not be sold to persons under the age of 18. Apart from this requirement, nicotine-free e-cigarettes can be sold freely in New Zealand.


Under The Medicines Act and the SFEA, people can import nicotine-containing e-cigarette products for their own use only. This is generally considered to be up to a 3 months' supply. These imported products cannot be supplied, sold or be given away to anyone else.


What are the requirements for importers and retailers of e-cigarettes?


Seek independent advice from your legal advisor for your specific circumstances.


The regulation of e-cigarettes (including types marketed as electronic shisha, electronic hookahs, pens or vapes etc.) in New Zealand comes primarily under the Medicines Act 1981 and the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and its Regulations. Both acts are available on the website:

                Medicines Act 

                Smoke-free Environments Act.


Note that it is prohibited:

                under the Medicines Act 1981 to advertise, sell and distribute nicotine-free and nicotine-containing e-cigarettes for therapeutic purposes without these products being approved by Medsafe

                under the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 to advertise, sell and distribute e-cigarettes that contain nicotine derived from tobacco, including nicotine-containing e-liquids

                under the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 to sell, supply and distribute e-cigarettes which look like a tobacco product (toy tobacco product) to people under 18 years of age.


Other legislation may also apply to the advertising, selling and distribution of e-cigarettes depending on the circumstances. They include the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, and the Customs and Excise Act 1996.


If you have any doubts about your legal obligations as an importer or a retailer of e-cigarettes, you should seek independent legal advice.


It is the manufactures’, importers’ and retailers’ responsibility to ensure compliance with all legislative requirements.




The New Zealand Vaping Alliance supports appropriate regulations for e-cigarettes including age restrictions on youth access and mandated quality standards, for example BSI’s PAS 54115:2015.


NZVA believes that New Zealand requires a ‘stand-alone’ regulatory framework for these products and does not support the inclusion of these products under the Smokefree Environments Act 1990.