Vaping ads illegal from today

11th November 2020

Today the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act (the Amendment Act) comes into effect with the first of five phases of provisions. In this initial phase, the existing prohibitions on the advertisement and sponsorship of tobacco products is extended to vaping products.

Vaping products include substances such as e-liquids and ‘vape juice’, as well as e-cigarettes and other devices, such as those used with heated tobacco products.

From today, it is prohibited to encourage the use, promote the sale, or notify the availability of vaping products. Provisions to restrict sponsorship of vaping products also come into effect today. This means that branding, trademarks, and logos relating to vaping products must not be used to sponsor an organised activity or events in New Zealand. More information on the prohibitions on advertising and sponsorship are available on the Ministry of Health website.

General retailers inside their retail premises are also prohibited from conversations with customers which encourage the use, promote the sale or notify the availability of vaping products. A general retailer also must not display its name or trade name on the outside of its place of business (this includes physical stores and websites) if the name signifies a vaping product can be purchased, is a trademark of a vaping product or is the name of a manufacturer or importer of a vaping product.

Restrictions differ for retailers depending on if they have been classified as a general retailer or specialist vape retailer. Specialist vape retailers operate with different obligations and some exemptions in the provisions of the Amendment Act.

The Amendment Act outlines a number of penalties for breaches of its provisions, including fines of up to $200,000 for a manufacturer, importer or distributor, and $70,000 for a large retailer, found to be contravening the advertising or sponsorship provisions.