This is how the market looks in
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 factasia.org 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 To compare tax rates on a country by country basis, this WHO site, although somewhat out of date, provides some insight.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.
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