Smokefree Compliance: Environments and Enforcement (Tobacco and Vape) | Northland DHB

Smokefree Compliance: Environments and Enforcement (Tobacco and Vape)

Ngā Tai Ora Public Health Northland’s goal is to reduce smoking uptake/initiation amongst children/youth in Te Tai Tokerau and encourage smoke-free public areas.

The Ministry of Health is the key agency for policy development in the tobacco control area and is involved in a large number of policy, service development and operational aspects of tobacco control.

Smokefree Enforcement Officers

Ngā Tai Ora Public Health Northland has Smokefree Enforcement Officers who investigate complaints in relation to the following matters:

  • Smoking in workplaces
  • Smoking in all hospitality venues and certain public places (such as licensed premises)
  • Smoking in schools, kura and early childhood centres
  • The sale of toy tobacco products
  • The sale and supply of tobacco, herbal and vaping products to young adults
  • The retail display of tobacco and vaping products
  • The advertising of tobacco and vaping products

Smokefree Places

The following places must be smokefree at all times:

  • the buildings and grounds of schools and early childhood centres
  • indoor areas of licensed premises and workplaces – ‘licensed premises’ includes bars, restaurants, cafés, sports clubs and casinos, ‘workplaces’ includes offices, factories, warehouses, work canteens and ‘smoko’ rooms


Smokefree Environments Act 1990

The Smokefree Environments Act 1990 aims to:

  • Protect the health of workers and the public from second-hand smoke
  • Reduce the harm caused to individuals from tobacco products
  • Restrict access to smoking products by people under 18 years of age and prevent negative influences on young people
  • Provide powers to Enforcement Officers and penalties for offences
  • Promote a smoke-free/auahi kore lifestyle as being both desirable and healthy
  • Regulate the marketing, advertising and promotion of tobacco products, services and events
  • Prohibiting smoking in motor vehicles carrying children (due late 2019)


Smokefree Environments Regulations 2007

The regulations impact on the retail environment, including:

  • Prohibiting the visible display of tobacco products
  • Requiring messages to be displayed on tobacco packages
  • The infringements for tobacco sales to people under 18 and other offences
  • Prohibiting the display of trading names that contain words, phrases, trademarks, or company names that have the effect of advertising


Smokefree Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint about a possible breach of the Smokefree Environments Act 1990, please contact a Smokefree Enforcement Officer on (09) 430 4100. For an investigation to proceed the following information must be provided:

  • Name and address of retailer/premises/workplace
  • A brief description of incident/breach
  • Date and time of incident/s
  • Witness/es name and contact details
  • Proof of the event (such as photos or video evidence)

The complainant/witness may be required to attend a court hearing at a future date should the complaint lead to a prosecution under the Smoke Free Environments Act 1990.

Compliance Monitoring

A number of premises are monitored by Smoke-free Enforcement Officers, for compliance with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, such as retailers, licensed premises, schools and early childhood centres.

Education Visits

Tobacco and vape retailers are visited to educate the retailers and ensure compliance with smoke-free legislation.

Licensed Premises/ Open and Internal Areas

Licensed premises may provide an open area for tobacco smokers and vapers. The area must comply with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 in that it must not be an internal area and meet the legal description of an open area. Any licensed premise who allows a person to smoke in an internal area may be prosecuted. Smoke-free Enforcement Officers can assess open areas for operators to ensure it meets the requirements for an open area.

Schools/Kura and Early Childhood Education Centres

Schools, kura and early childhood education and care centres must take all practicable steps to ensure that no person smokes (or vapes) on any part of the premise at any time, and erect a notice stating no smoking (or vaping) at every entrance to the premise and every exit to every building.


The Medicines Act 1981 and the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 regulate the sale, advertising and use of vaping products, including nicotine and nicotine liquids.

Nicotine is a scheduled substance under the Medicines Act 1981. It is illegal to sell a vaping product (with or without nicotine) while making a therapeutic claim, unless the product has been approved for that purpose by Medsafe.

Vaping products are tobacco products, if they are manufactured from or contain tobacco.

The Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2017 controls apply to smoked tobacco, heated tobacco and vaping products that are manufactured from tobacco. This includes the ban on sales to minors, displaying products containing or manufactured from tobacco and restrictions on advertising.

The Ministry of Health encourages smokers who want to use vaping products to quit smoking to seek the support of local stop smoking services. Local stop smoking services provide smokers with the best chance of quitting successfully and must support smokers who want to quit with the help of vaping products.


Helpful links


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