Smoking Legislation Repeal by NZ's Coalition Government in 2024

Smoking Legislation Repeal by NZ’s Coalition Government in 2024.

It is widely known that the new Coalition Government of National, NZ First, and the Act Party agreed to repeal New Zealand’s hallmark smokefree legislation.  The question for businesses to understand, is, how will this repeal impact on businesses?

The journey to make New Zealand Smokefree began in 1948 when the link between smoking and cancer was first established.  Since then, New Zealand has seen cigarette advertising banned, health warnings on cigarette packaging emphasised, significant regulatory measures to restrict the sale and supply of tobacco and vaping products, and further regulations to control the marketing, advertising, and promotion of vaping and tobacco products.

Critically, there were measures to reduce the exposure of non-smokers to second hand smoke and its cancer related problems.

This latter point was captured in laws that required all licensed premises (bars, restaurants, cafes, sports clubs, casinos) and other workplaces (including offices, factories, warehouses, work canteens and ‘smoko’ rooms) became smokefree indoors in New Zealand. By 2021, smoking was prohibited in cars while carrying children, and a Smokefree 2025 Action Plan was launched on 9 December 2021, with the goal of making New Zealand Smokefree by 2025.

The key messages situate around the rights of second-hand smokers and how those rights are protected and maintained in the business context.  There is no argument that businesses and workplaces will see a relaxing in the rules around smoking in the workplace including licensed premises and offices.  But this does not mean that businesses are exempt from other legal obligations, particularly under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 that require the identification of hazards that must be eliminated or mitigated for in the workplace. 

Nonsmokers have a right to not be exposed to cigarette smoke and its cancer-causing toxins.  Therefore, businesses can and should continue to assert their expectation that smoking is not allowed at their workplaces, or any other space they have control over. 

If you have any questions about the smoking legislation, or any other legislation questions make sure you contact our legal team today. Call 0508 656 757 or email