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We acknowledge the health risks associated with tobacco, and do not question that tobacco needs to be subject to restrictions.


However, real progress can best be achieved by extending to all stakeholders the opportunity for genuine consultation and participation in the regulatory process. This must include smokers, non-smokers, regulators, retailers, suppliers and tobacco companies themselves.

Today, there is a trend towards imposing increasing numbers of  legislative restrictions on the manufacture, promotion, sale and consumption of tobacco products.

Given that the largest slice of tobacco profits goes directly to the government in taxation, the New Zealand Government is among the largest stakeholders in the tobacco industry.  As New Zealand's leading tobacco company, we are keen to work side by side with governments and their agencies in the formulation of tobacco control policy. Our aim is not to halt the legislative reform process, but rather to ensure the development of sensible and effective regulation that is workable for all parties concerned.

We believe that we have a valuable contribution to make to any long-term legislative strategy. As market leader we possess valuable technical knowledge that in the past we have openly shared with governments, in good faith, to work together and achieve real progress. We are committed to maintaining an open dialogue with the Government. Our desire is to strike a balance between meeting our commercial objectives and satisfying reasonable public expectations.

The New Zealand tobacco industry shares many of the central objectives of the Government with respect to tobacco regulation. In particular, British American Tobacco New Zealand supports government efforts to reduce underage smoking, and to reduce the growing black market tobacco trade. We have launched various initiatives over the years to curb these problems through retailer and consumer education.

We reiterate our commitment to working with the Government and their agencies in establishing effective and workable regulation in the area of tobacco control, that is applicable to the New Zealand market.

In New Zealand, the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990 directly impacts on the manufacture, sale, promotion and consumption of tobacco products.

British American Tobacco New Zealand acknowledges the health risks associated with tobacco, and does not question that tobacco should be subject to sensible restrictions. Since the 1960s, the way in which tobacco companies have been permitted to communicate through marketing in New Zealand has been gradually restricted.

The following table shows the timeline for the restriction of marketing freedoms. Some of these restrictions were led by the industry itself, in the form of voluntary agreements – a measure of our commitment to working with Government to formulate sensible, workable regulation.

Restriction New Zealand [1]
Health warnings on packs Warnings introduced in 1973
Increased warnings from 1988
Required by legislation from 1990
Pictorial warnings introduced in 2008
Television and radio advertising Restricted from 1962
Prohibited in 1965
Print advertising Restricted from 1973
Prohibited in 1990
Public transport advertising Restricted from 1973
Prohibited from 1990
Cinema advertising Restricted in 1973
Prohibited in 1990
Billboard advertising Restricted from 1973
Prohibited in 1990
Outdoor advertising Restricted from 1973
Prohibited in 1990
External signage (retail outlets) Restricted from 1978
Prohibited in 1990
Sponsorship Restricted from 1978
Phased out from 1990
Complete ban from 1995
Point of sale material Restricted in 1978
Further restrictions in 1990, 1996 and 2012
Product display Restrictions in 2004
Prohibited in 2012
Indoor smoking ban Restrictions in 2004
Duty free allowance Restrictions in 2014
Standardised tobacco packaging Introduced 2018


[1] Restrictions began under voluntary agreements. Prohibitions were under legislation, predominantly the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990.

We are committed to helping improve retailers' awareness of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, including amendments and subsequent regulations. We provide ongoing education to retailers in an effort to help improve their understanding of the legislation surrounding the sale of tobacco products in New Zealand.