Vapour products were present in New Zealand in 2017; however, nicotine-based products were limited to being available for sale online for personal use. Although nicotine-based vapour products remained illegal in 2017 according to the Ministry of Health rules, they have been sold in New Zealand via specific retail vapour stores, which were not prosecuted, as the bill remained in parliament to amend the Smoke-free Environments Act to allow their sales, which is expected to come into effect in the latter half of 2018.
Chewing tobacco such a snus is prohibited in New Zealand, as the sale of smokeless tobacco has been prohibited since 2009. However, snuff is legal, but not commonly used and remains negligible.
Whilst the Ministry of Health debated whether nicotine-based vapour products should be retailed in New Zealand, Philip Morris (New Zealand) Ltd experienced obstacles to its heated tobacco device, IQOS and HEETS tobacco sticks. Heated tobacco is a heat-not-burn smokeless cigarette device, expected to be the next phase in the movement away from cigarettes and tobacco.
The majority of vapour products are sold via the internet, mainly because of the law which had yet to pass at the end of the review period regarding nicotine-based e-liquids (which were not allowed to be sold via store-based retailers and were only permitted for personal use by purchasing online). While internet retailing dominated distribution of all vapour products in 2017, this is expected to change when legislation allows nicotine based e-liquids to be sold through retailers in New Zealand.
Open vaping systems are more popular in New Zealand than closed vaping systems. A number of brands are available, with the majority manufactured in Shenzhen, China.
In 2016, Philip Morris launched its heated tobacco product IQOS in New Zealand. The device was launched at a highly publicised event in Auckland, December 2016.
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