Introduction to Smokefree Schools

Find out about the legal and educational requirements and how to create a smokefree culture.

Introduction to Smokefree Schools

A smokefree school is more than just a sign on the gate. Schools and early childhood education services are at the heart of communities. They are a place where everyone works together to ensure that young people have the best possible opportunity to achieve success and make positive choices.

Under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 which commenced on 11 November 2020, amending the Smokefree Environments Act 1990 and renaming it to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 all schools, kura kaupapa, early childhood education centres, and kōhanga reo must be smokefree and vapefree - indoors and out, 24/7.

You must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no person smokes vapes in any part of your school, whether inside or outside, at any time of day.  From 11 May 2021, all schools, early childhood education facilities and care centres must, in addition to the existing requirement to display ‘no smoking’ notices they will be required to display 'no vaping' notices. Smoking and vaping notices can be combined or on separate signage.

Invdividual schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and early childhood education and care centres can decide on whether or not to have a vaping policy. Most schools will already have a Smokefree policy, and find the easiest way is to amend this policy to include vaping. For an example of a Smokefree and Vapefree Schools policy click here. 

Smoking in front of young people normalises smoking as an acceptable behaviour.  So principals, boards of trustees, and managers of schools and early childhood centres must take all reasonably practical steps to make sure that no one smokes on the premises at any time, and that signage is prominently displayed. These signs should be at (or immediately inside) every entrance to the school and the outer entrance to every building or enclosed area forming part of the premises.

Displaying smokefree signage on all main buildings and entrances is a legal requirement.

Creating a smokefree culture in your school is easy with the right tools, resources and support –

  • There are a range of organisations in your area that can help you.
  • Displaying smokefree signage on all main buildings and entrances is a legal requirement. You can order these free from the Health Promotion Agency.
  • You can also create your own smokefree signage - download the logos here  to create your schools personalised signage or you can work with a sign production company such as Expandasign who offer special school rates. Download their flyer here.
  • Let visitors to the school know that your school is smokefree all day, everyday. Download, copy, and create your own Visitor Log Book in English, Te Reo Māori, or in both languages
  • Claim your school smokefree by painting the smokefree logo around your school boundary, on footpaths outside your school or on grass at outdoor events - order a free smokefree logo stencil.
  • Use the Smokefree 2025 logo on your school website, social media pages and newsletters. You can also use the logos on sun shelters and banners at events to increase and maintain awareness of the smokefree kaupapa.
  • Check out some of the latest facts and figures on smoking prevalance for youth.
  • There are a range of fact sheets that provide analysis on this data and other key findings (select ‘Tobacco control’ under categories and use keyword ‘youth’).
  • To find out more about current smoking behaviours, attitudes and knowledge and other health-related attitudes and behaviours among Year 10 students have a look at the New Zealand Youth Tobacco Monitor. This is a national school-based survey run by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH). 
  • The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 (the Amendment Act) bans smoking and vaping in indoor workplaces, early childhood centres and schools. Learn about more about vaping at This website has information about how vaping differs from smoking, what the law is in relation to vaping, and trends is youth and adult use of vaping.

Page last updated: 23 Aug 2021