This is how the market looks in

New-ZealandNew Zealand

Percentage adult smokers

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health estimates around 18% of the adult population were current smokers in 2012/13, or around 600,000 people.

LHP status (legality, availability etc)
According to the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (
Medsafe) it is illegal to sell an e-cigarette in New Zealand that contains nicotine unless it has been approved as a medicine; none has been (ref).  Others have argued that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes can be sold as a non-medicinal, recreational tobacco product under the Smoke-free Environments Act (ref 1 – 2010); (ref 2 – 2009). For more information on e-cigarette laws and regulations in New Zealand and elsewhere, this site provides some insight, although cannot vouch for accuracy or currency.


Taxes on cigarettes in New Zealand are around 70% of the cost of a pack. Taxes rose 40% in 2013 and are set to continue rising by 10% per annum for the foreseeable future. Tobacco taxes account for around 2% of all taxes raised by the government. To compare tax rates on a country by country basis, this WHO site, although somewhat out of date, provides some insight.

Price of a pack

The average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes in 2014 was estimated at over NZ$18. A 20-a-day Kiwi smoker spends around NZ$5,000 a year on tobacco products.

Illicit trade

The extent of illicit cigarette trade in New Zealand remains largely guesswork based on seizures by Customs and Excise, with ASH claiming a figure of up to 1.97% of total consumption. Other studies, including this one, have indicated a higher prevalence of up to around 3.9%. There has been little effort to accurately determine the current size of the illicit market.

Packaging and labelling requirements

Graphic images and explanatory messages cover 30% of the front and 90% of the back of cigarette packets (ref 1), (ref 2). The New Zealand government is being pressured to introduce a plain packaging law along the lines of Australia’s (ref).

Information on quitting smoking

Trying to quit? Contact Smoke Free New Zealand