Tobacco and vaping update for Retail NZ members
Retail NZ has met with Associate Health Minister Casey Costello. We discussed matters relating to tobacco and vaping legislation, as these apply to retailers.
Ms Costello confirmed to Retail NZ that the Smokefree target of less than 5% of the population smoking by 2025 remains a key target for the Government. She is currently reviewing advice around what other levers could be used to continue to reduce smoking in New Zealand, including gathering research on what is successful in other countries.
We informed her that most retailers were pleased with the pause in the reduction of retail outlets that can sell smoke tobacco products. However, we highlighted the fact that a number of retailers had already completed the application to become an Approved Smoked Tobacco Retailer and paid the $1,475 fee. We stressed that this fee should be refunded to retailers as soon as possible, given the challenging economic times.
We were advised that legislation has to be passed to enable refunds to be paid. The Government is committed to passing this legislation within the first 100 days, i.e. by 8 March. However, details around the amount and timing of the refund are not yet finalised. We will continue to monitor this on your behalf.
Vaping Regulatory Authority
We also highlighted issues with the annual vaping sales returns, for both specialist and generalist vape retailers.
As a result, vape retailers should have received an update from the Vaping Regulatory Authority on Friday. This advised that the annual reports due on 31 January for both Specialist and Generalist Vape Merchants have been paused until the end of March. The Ministry of Health is aware that the current forms require further finetuning and want to take the time to get this right before retailers are required to complete them.
Additionally, we were successful in lobbying for the removal of the requirement for General Vape Merchants to provide total sales revenue in their annual return. The Ministry of Health website has been updated to say:
General vape retailers will not be required to provide their total sales revenue of non-vaping products as part of their return.
We are continuing to work with Ministry officials on changing the publication of the total store revenue of Specialist Vape Merchants to the percentage of sales. This has not yet been confirmed.
PLEASE NOTE: The pause in reporting for vape merchants does not relate to the manufacturers and importers of smoked tobacco products, who must continue to supply sales related information as listed in the regulations, and must still do so by 31 March 2024.
Find out more details about the Annual Return process here.