E-cigarettes are under tight regulation down under－but while the situation in Australia is extremely restrictive, neighbouring New Zealand is moving towards a more receptive approach.
In both countries it is prohibited to sell e-cigarettes which contain nicotine, but in New Zealand plans to legalise them look like going ahead despite a change of government. And the different regulatory approaches are leading to a divergence in the vaping markets in the two countries as explained in an ECigIntelligence report.
Non nicotine-containing products can be purchased in stores, but the only legal way to obtain e-cigarettes with nicotine is by buying online, which is allowed for personal use. Specific restrictions vary between states but in general Australia has tighter controls on advertising.
Because of the bans in place, the actual number of vapers in Australia and New Zealand is very low, reflecting the countries’ comparatively low number of smokers.
Australians buy products through New Zealand-based websites, most likely due to the availability of nicotine-containing products. There is no traffic in the opposite direction, probably because Australian sites do not sell products containing nicotine.
In the past year the three top-ranking Australian retail websites continued to dominate the market, while only five new websites entered the top 20, indicating a consolidation of the market.
The e-liquid market in New Zealand appears to be more fragmented than in Australia.
The price of hardware products shows little variation between Australia and New Zealand, but both markets strongly favour closed system products.