Vaping Explained

Vaping is the greatest threat to Big Tobacco there is as it undermines demand for cigarettes by creating a far better and inherently safer way to consume nicotine.

Vaping explained

Vaping is a market-led solution to the smoking epidemic that’s been around in its modern from since the mid-2000s.  Today, an estimated 258,000 Kiwis vape daily and it poses the most serious threat to smoking, ever, making it a global good. Vaping is not just cheaper but inherently safer and better.  Not being limited to traditional tobacco flavours creates a massive range of flavours and tastes and because it does not burn, vapes do not make people or things smell like an ashtray.


While vaping is not harmless, it is substantially safer than smoking and there are three major variations of vaping products, two of which are sold legally in New Zealand:

E-liquid/MOD vaping

These are manufactured liquids for refillable tanks (involving a wick), sealed pods (wickless) and disposable vapes.  The liquid or juice is heated in a battery powered device to a point where vapour is created and inhaled hence ‘vaping’. MOD (refillable tank devices) gives a user more control over cloud output and power (temperature). Sealed pods are generally tamperproof offering a reliable and consistent flavour with the ability to change out flavoured pods. Disposables are sealed single-flavoured devices but can be sufficient to replace multiple packs of cigarettes.

Smokeless (heated) tobacco

Contain a specially manufactured tobacco plug within a tobacco stick.  When placed into a battery powered device that shuts off when done, a blade or pin heats the tobacco to a point whereby a tobacco infused vapour is inhaled.  These devices offer a cigarette-like experience as they use real-tobacco but are a vape as they do not burn and the sticks can be disposed of in rubbish with no need to stub them out.

Smokeless (non-heated) pouches

These products are not sold in New Zealand but are very popular in Scandinavian countries who now have the lowest smoking rates in Europe, especially among young women.  These are small pouches containing either nicotine or tobacco, which is placed under the lip allowing nicotine to be unobtrusively absorbed without the need for a battery powered device.

How vaping products are sold in New Zealand

New Zealand has a two tier system for selling vaping products

Specialist Vape Retailers

Vaping products (all notified flavours) and devices are sold in 18+ stores and/or online if approved by the Vaping Regulatory Authority (VRA). This includes age verification. Physical stores can freely talk about and sell different types of vapes with customers and if an Approved Vaping Premise, 18+ smokers or vapers can try vaping substances and devices before buying.

Research by ASH (2022) indicates that 91.3% of Year-10 students who vape daily did not get their vape from a Specialist Vape Retailer.

General Vape Retailers

General Retailers: All retailers who are not Specialist Vape Retailers may sell devices but are limited to selling three ‘traditional’ flavours – tobacco, mint and menthol to 18+ persons only. VIANZ does not agree with this because general retailers are the largest sellers of tobacco products while this sector is limited in what they can say to smokers restricting their ability to convert smokers to a safer, cheaper and better option.

Research by ASH (2022) indicates that 97.9% of Year-10 students who vape daily did not get their vape from a General Vape Retailer.

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