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 nicotine 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 a multi-category consumer goods business with a purpose to build A Better Tomorrow by reducing the health impact of its business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable of less risky* products for adult consumers, we are keen to work side by side with governments and their agencies. 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.

BAT New Zealand supports government efforts to reduce underage nicotine use, 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.

In New Zealand, the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 directly impacts on the manufacture, sale, promotion and consumption of tobacco, vaping and smokeless tobacco products.

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
Vaping products November 2020


[1] Restrictions began under voluntary agreements. Prohibitions were under legislation, predominantly the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products 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.

*Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These produts are not risk free and are addictive.