Smokefree NEWSFLASH

The following edited summary was prepared by Imperial Tobacco

The Smokefree 2025 Bill passed its second reading with a majority vote in the House last night. This is another step toward the Bill becoming law.

Even if the Bill passes as it stands, nothing changes substantively for at least another 18 months. There is no need for changes to ordering patterns, especially as we head into the busy holiday period.

The Bill *may* pass before Christmas but it’s still got a couple of steps to go through and could be delayed till early next year.

A quick rundown on what happened last night:

  • The Smokefree Generation, prohibiting the sale of smoked tobacco products to people born after 1 January 2009, will come into effect on 1 January 2027
  • The Government proposes reducing the number of tobacco retailers up to a cap of 600
    • The Director-General of Health to decide on applications and criteria (we are yet to get clear detail of what the criteria entails)
    • The retail footprint will be based on population size in the area, and the estimated number of people in the area who smoke
    • Decisions about who gets to sell tobacco products will be made in consultation with affected parties, including local Māori interests and the Māori Health Authority
    • Effective retail reductions will start to kick in from 18 months after the Bill becomes law
  • Nicotine will be limited to 0.8mg/g – this is “very low nicotine”
    • To kick in 21 months after the Bill becomes law

 

Here’s how the parties voted:

Labour: For (64 votes)

Greens: For (10)

National: Opposed (31)

ACT: Opposed (10)

Māori: For (2)

  • ACT voted against the whole thing due to concerns about growing the black market and impact on small businesses
  • National want to try low-nicotine first and assess the outcomes – they believe retail restrictions and the Smokefree Generation may not be necessary if low-nic works
  • Labour/Greens/Māori Party: Support the Bill as it stands in its entirety

 

There’s still a lot of detail to be worked through and we’re working to get a better idea of what all of this looks like in practical terms.

The good news is that we are getting positive signals from Opposition parties

In the meantime, we need our retail customers to help us fight their cause. We are working on a series of summer awareness campaigns, and I’ll update you on this activity when we have things locked in.

Dave Hooker
Executive Director NZACS