Tobacco Retail Licensing and Registration

ASH considers tobacco retail licensing and registration an essential step towards achieving a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

Currently in New Zealand there is no tobacco retail licensing system. Nor is there a central, official retail registration database. Retail licensing guarantees a well-developed and comprehensive protocol to ensure all tobacco retailers are compliant with smoke-free legislation. It forms a corner stone for supply-control measures of tobacco products.

ASH’s vision for tobacco retail licensing is as follows:

  1.    Tobacco retailers and wholesalers must obtain a license to sell tobacco products. As part of this process, retailers must also provide proof of competency to current smoke-free law, as well as compliance with a range of conditions (e.g. training on how to verify age of customer before sale);
  2.    Tobacco retailers and wholesalers must supply annual data on tobacco sales to smoke free regulators;
  3.    Tobacco retailers and wholesalers must undergo regular monitoring to ensure compliance with smoke free law;
  4.    Tobacco retailers and wholesalers face penalties, suspension or revoking of tobacco sales license for failing to comply with smoke-free law.

Tobacco licensing can also allow for capping of tobacco retailers in sensitive regions, like low decile areas and around schools.[i]

The process of introducing licenses for selling tobacco can be undertaken in a stepwise manner, with a retail register as the first step.[ii] The creation of a central register for all tobacco retailers will provide a system for effective monitoring of the sale of tobacco without a direct mechanism for penalising retailers. This can then be followed up by introducing retail licensing for all tobacco retailers, suppliers, wholesalers, importers and manufacturers to ensure their continued compliance with smoke-free regulations.ii, [iii], [iv]

ASH continues to conduct research on the value of retail licensing and effective registration. This includes:



[i] Blakely, T, Fawcett, J, and Wilson, N. “What is the contribution of smoking and socioeconomic position to ethnic inequalities in New Zealand.” The Lancet, 2006: 44-52

 [ii] Allen + Clarke. “Establishing a registration scheme for tobacco sellers.” Wellington, 2012. 

[iii] Cancer Society Auckland. “Tobacco Supply Strategies in a Local Government Context. Literature Review, Auckland: Cancer Society of New Zealand, 2013.” 

[iv] Fry, R, et al. “Selling tobacco anywhere, anytime: harmful not helpful.” Sydney: Cancer Council NSW, 2013.