General retailers

General retailers i.e. dairies and service stations, are allowed to sell vapes, including disposable vapes. The types of vapes they sell are restricted to mint, menthol or tobacco flavours. This means they may have more than three types of flavours because mint and menthol can come in various types with names like ‘ice’, ‘polar’ and ‘cool’. If the ‘cool’ or ‘ice’ has a fruit in front, i.e. ‘peach ice’, it’s a flavoured vape. If a retailer sells a disposable vape and it’s a mint, menthol or tobacco flavour, they are not doing anything illegal. General retailers are not allowed to sell vapes to any person aged under eighteen years.

If you know of, or hear of a person obtaining a flavoured vape from a dairy, please check with the dairy to see what flavours they actually sell before you make a complaint. If the vapes sold include flavours like peach and strawberry, then the dairy should not be selling those. Please note, some dairies have a separate section of their store that is considered a Specialist Vape Retailer store, which are allowed to sell flavours.

A complaint can be made if the general retailer has sold to a person aged under eighteen, or has sold a flavour that is not a mint, menthol or tobacco flavour.

Specialist Vape Retailers

Specialist Vape Retailers (SVRs) are allowed to sell flavoured vapes and they are allowed to demonstrate vapes in-store. In other words, people are allowed to try out vapes, but only inside the SVR, not inside a dairy. Like any other store, SVRs are not allowed to sell vapes to persons under eighteen years of age.

If you know of, or hear of an underage person obtaining a flavoured vape from an SVR, you may want to check to see if they sell that particular brand of vape before making a complaint. Many young people obtain their vapes from friends and family members and do not purchase directly from retailers.

Vaping Outdoors

People who vape are allowed to do so both outdoors and inside their own homes. The only exceptions are the grounds of schools, colleges and early education centres, where it is not permitted to vape or smoke.

If people vape outside in a public place, there is no law against this. Councils, Companies and Organisations sometimes have a rules where they do not want people to vape or smoke on their grounds. It is up to those Councils, Companies and Organisations to enforce their own rules. Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora, is not responsible for the conduct of people who smoke or vape outside where others might not want them to.

Vaping Indoors

Vaping or smoking is not allowed anywhere indoors that is a workplace. This means all workplaces. The exception to this rule i; people are allowed to vape indoors inside a Specialists Vape Retailer store if they are testing a product.

Vaping and smoking are allowed in private homes. This includes townhouses, flats and in the private rooms of care homes.

Workplace cars

It is at the discretion of an organisation or company to allow employees to smoke or vape in their vehicles, however, we recommend being Smokefree and vapefree as the best health option, and one that will avoid conflict among staff. If an employer does allow smoking or vaping in fleet vehicles, we suggest dedicating most vehicles as Smokefree and vapefree.

A driver or owner of a vehicle may not permit smoking or vaping in a vehicle that is carrying people under eighteen years of age.

To make a complaint

If you have a complaint in the Greater Wellington region, click on the link below 'Make a complaint', or alternatively you can contact us by phone: (04) 570 9002 or email:

If your complaint is about a vape retailer outside of the Greater Wellington region, you can find your local Public Health service and contact them directly from the Te Whatu Ora website.


Last updated 15 July 2024.