Tobacco and electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) retailing laws in NSW regulate the packaging, advertising and display of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories, non-tobacco smoking products, and ban the supply of these products to children. These laws aim to reduce the uptake of smoking, particularly by young people.

Tobacco and e-cigarette retailing laws in NSW are in the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008and the Public Health (Tobacco) Regulation 2016

Key requirements in the legislation include:

  • a notification (registration) and negative licensing scheme for retailers selling tobacco products or non-tobacco smoking products
  • a ban on the sale of tobacco products, non-tobacco smoking products, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories to anyone under 18
  • a ban on the display of tobacco products, non-tobacco smoking products, smoking accessories,​ e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories​ in shops
  • all tobacco sold must be packaged correctly with appropriate health warnings
  • allowing only a single point of sale for tobacco products, non-tobacco smoking products, smoking accessories, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories in retail outlets
  • restricting tobacco or e-cigarette vending machines to licensed venues restricted to over 18s
  • ensuring that tobacco or e-cigarette vending machines comply with product display bans and are only activated by a staff member or by a token which is only available from a staff member
  • a ban on tobacco products, non-tobacco smoking products and e-cigarette products in shopper-loyalty programs
  • displaying health warnings and a notice regarding sales to minors at the point of sale. For more information, see  How to display the compulsory warning signs fact sheet.

Notification of tobacco retailing activity

Tobacco retailers operating in NSW must not engage in tobacco retailing unless they have notified the NSW Ministry of Health that they intend to engage in tobacco retailing. Retailers must register their business details, which they can do via the free on-line Government Licensing Service.

Once registered, the retailer will be issued with a tobacco retailer notification number. Retailers need to provide this number to tobacco wholesalers in order to obtain tobacco products.

For more information see  Tobacco Retailer Notification Scheme.

Enforcement and penalties

NSW Health inspectors monitor compliance with the legislation. Inspectors educate retailers and can issue warnings, fines or initiate prosecutions against retailers that break the law.

For more information see  Penalties and enforcement fact sheet.​​

Media on illicit tobacco seizure

Tobacco and e-cigarette retailer training

To learn more about your responsibilities under the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 and what you must do to comply with the law, visit our online training. It was designed to support NSW tobacco and e-cigarette retailers and sales staff to comply with tobacco and e-cigarette retailing laws when selling tobacco, non-tobacco smoking products, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories. For more information see ​our online training for tobacco and e-cigarette retailers: Selling Tobacco Responsibly. ​​​​

Current as at: Friday 12 April 2019
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health