Are Electronic Cigarettes Legal in Australia?

Vaping Laws - INFOGRAPHIC
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Electronic cigarettes are causing confusion around the world as lawmakers struggle to decide the technology’s place in society.

Australia is one of the countries where that confusion is at its height, with laws that are already some of the strictest in the world and that vary more between the different states.

The baseline is that because nicotine is classed as a Schedule 7 poison in Australia, it’s illegal to sell it except as a licensed medication.

That means disposable e-cigarettes or cartridges that contain nicotine are not for sale right across the country, but nicotine free ones and refillable devices can be sold unless state law band them.

It’s also not illegal to import nicotine liquids for personal use, again unless state law says otherwise, so that’s what most Australian vapers do.

Liquid is easy to find from suppliers in New Zealand, or from Chinese manufacturers. Many people also order high-strength nicotine base and mix it with nicotine-free liquids.

 

Related : >>>>>Check out Our overseas Nicotine E-liquid Vendor Guide <<<<<

 

It’s still a frustrating situation though, because while real cigarettes are heavily restricted they’re still much more available than a safer alternative.

Where it gets really confusing is at the state level. Some states have much stricter laws than others, sometimes adding up to something like a total ban.

 

Let’s look at them one at a time.

Western Australia

 

Vaping Laws In Western Australia
Western Australia is one the strictest out of all the states. It’s legal to use e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, but the state government has pretty much made it as hard as they can to actually do it.

They’re classed as products which mimic smoking under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006; that means it’s illegal to sell them. At first this rule was only applied to ones that looked like cigarettes, and more advanced devices were allowed, but recently courts have decided that it’s the way they’re used that mimics smoking and not the size or shape.

This also means it’s illegal to use them anywhere smoking is banned. WA vapers are still allowed to import nicotine for personal use and can legally buy e-cigarettes from other Australian states, though.


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Queensland

Vaping Laws In Queensland
Western Australia makes it hard to vape, in Queensland things are even worse.

E-cigarettes are classed as tobacco products under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 – even though they didn’t exist in 1998, so aren’t mentioned in it – and it’s illegal to display or promote them in shops.

They can be legally sold but it’s illegal to import nicotine into the state, even for personal use.

It’s also illegal to use an e-cig that contains nicotine.

Under the law as it stands Queensland vapers are restricted to nicotine-free options, which means many will end up staying with actual cigarettes – which can be bought legally, of course. On balance Queensland is probably the worst state in Australia to be a vaper in.


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New South Wales

Vaping Laws In New South Wales, Australia
The situation in New South Wales is slightly better.

Electronic cigarettes haven’t been classified under any tobacco control laws, so they’re still a normal consumer product.

The national ban on selling or supplying nicotine liquids still applies but it’s legal to import them for personal use. It’s also legal to use nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes.

The situation with vaping in public is unclear because vaping isn’t classed as smoking, so at the moment it’s mostly up to business owners if they allow it.


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Victoria

 

Vaping Laws - Victoria

Victoria is another state that hasn’t classified e-cigarettes under existing anti-smoking laws.

It’s legal to use them whether they contain nicotine or not, to sell devices and nicotine-free liquids and to import nicotine for personal use.

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act of 1981doesn’t put any restrictions on the drug if it isn’t for sale.

Despite the ban on nicotine sales Victoria is still a relatively vape-friendly state and at the moment there are no moves from Melbourne to change that.


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South Australia

 

Vaping Laws In South Australia

Electronic cigarettes aren’t classified as tobacco products and it’s legal to sell them as long as they don’t contain nicotine.

They can also be used legally.

Under the South Australian Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulation of 1991 nicotine can be legally owned as long as it’s not for retail or wholesale, and it’s fine to import it for personal use. Again this is quite a vaping-friendly state.


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Northern Territory

 

Vaping Laws in Northern Territory

The situation for vapers in the Northern Territory is slightly unclear.

Electronic cigarettes aren’t classified as tobacco products, and it’s legal to sell nicotine-free ones.

E-cigs can also be legally used whether they contain nicotine or not. The difficult part is getting your hands on nicotine.

It’s not illegal to import it for personal use but Part 11 of the Poisons and Dangerous Drugs Act says you need to apply for a permit to do so.

If you don’t have a permit possession of nicotine becomes an offence.


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Australian Capital Territory

 

Vaping laws in Australian Capital Territory

The laws about vaping in the ACT are fairly typical of the more liberal states.

E-cigarettes aren’t classified as anything problematic by law, it’s legal to sell them without nicotine and they can be legally used.

Use in public is up to business owners.


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Tasmania

Vaping Laws in Tasmania
Again there are no specific restrictions in state law.

Tasmania has always been pretty liberal about things and e-cigarettes remain unclassified.

You can’t legally sell nicotine in the state but you can import it as long as it’s for your own use, and you don’t need a permit. Nicotine-free devices can also be legally sold and any e-cigarette can be legally used.

Electronic cigarette Australia law

So obviously there’s a fair range of laws across the country when it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping.

With the exception of Queensland it’s legal to obtain nicotine as long as it’s for your own use not commercial purposes, although NT has that permit issue.

Most places don’t class vaping as smoking either, so it’s not covered by anti-smoking laws. There are a lot of people with a strong anti-vaping agenda though, so nobody can relax about this.

There will be attempts to tighten the laws, either from Canberra or at state level, and vapers are going to have to fight this as hard as they can.

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FULL INFOGRAPHIC – AUSTRALIAN VAPING LAWS

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Vaping laws Australia
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20 Comments
  1. Reply
    Rankin May 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually recognise what you’re talking about! Bookmarked.

  2. Reply
    electronic cigarette australia May 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

    E-cigarette is becoming trendy worldwide as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. You buy e-cigarettes containing nicotine if you live in Australia.

  3. Reply
    Kitty May 21, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    whoah this weblog is great. You know, lots of persons are looking around for this information, Shared!

  4. Reply
    UBV May 21, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Finally a great piece of information that all vapers in Australia. Great stuff guys! Will definitely tell our customers!

    Mervin
    http://ubv.com.au

  5. Reply
    RexAlan June 6, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I live in NSW. I guess this means that if I go up to Queensland to visit friends or for a holiday I can only use 0 nic juices and cigarettes. Absolutely crazy.

    After smoking for 47 years it comes down to this.

    Ps Tobacco free for 6 weeks 1 day.

  6. Reply
    ecigadvocate June 6, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I am actually grateful to the owner of this web page who has shared this. Cheers

  7. Reply
    RexAlan June 8, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Does anybody know what the fine/penalty for possessing Nic Eliquid in Queensland is as I was thinking of going up for a holiday. Maybe I should stop at the border and spend my money in NSW.

    The Government website is no use, sure it states a maximum penalty of $9108 but it doesn’t say whether this is for manufacturing, obtaining, possessing, selling, advertising or using.

  8. Reply
    TDK June 15, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Good website!

  9. Reply
    James July 4, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Thanks a lot for the infographic. We are looking to launch locally in Australia soon and we will add this to our website http://www.vapoaustralia.com.au!

  10. Reply
    James July 11, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    For Queensland at least it is partially incorrect.

    To clarify customs is a federal jurisdiction and is not enforced by state authorities and it is not illegal to import nicotine into Australia.

    Therefore it is not illegal to import nicotine in Queensland, however as of January 2015 it is illegal “for a person to manufacture, obtain, possess, prescribe, dispense, sell, advertise, use or destroy nicotine, unless the person is specifically authorised or holds an approval under the HDPR. The maximum penalty is $9,108.”

  11. Reply
    paul July 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing

  12. Reply
    patrick May 3, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    how much is a 3 month supply if converted to milligrams? where can i find the exact laws written under the website of the government in australia?

  13. Reply
    Moz July 28, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Concerning Vic you may have your facts wrong maybe? Though it’s not enforced. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/Api/downloadmedia/%7BBF57AC3D-373C-4CDB-9EEE-AA088402E94D%7D

  14. Reply
    OzVape September 2, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Great resource! Can’t believe the laws in this country sometimes, particularly whilst smoking is still fully legal.

  15. Reply
    Peter September 16, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Can anyone clarify if a business is allowed to sell e-cigs and e-liquid on an Australian website, there is no mention in this document that you can’t.. but I want to ensure that advertising online is except from these advertising rules.

    http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Factsheets/e-cigs-ban-advertising.pdf

  16. Reply
    Skyyvape September 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Once you try electronic cigarettes, you can become hooked to them, move on to cigarettes and then move on to other drugs,”

    Really? Either this viewpoint was made in ignorance, or was intended to prey upon it. This is the same reason the FDA had provided for pursuing a ban on three of the largest manufacturers of e-cigs (that they may cause people to become addicted to nicotine).

  17. Reply
    Louise Clark October 5, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Great post, thanks for sharing nice informative article.

  18. Reply
    Jim October 6, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Yes these are totally legal in Australia. I have a few of these!

  19. Reply
    Tina November 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Very strange that people who have quit smoking by using an e-cigarette, have to go back to normal smoking when traveling to Queensland. I think it has nothing to do with health but all with tax.

  20. Reply
    Grant HeazlewoodI May 12, 2017 at 8:07 am

    I am visiting Australia. I am surprised by your vaping laws. I smoked cigars for many years. My brother smoked rollies for 50 years. We both had tried unsuccessfully to quit using quit line and other means but always failed. I started nicotine vaping 5 months ago and have not had a cigar since. My brother has had similar success. I have reduced nicotine by 75% in 5 months and intend to be nicotine free and not smoking in another 2 months. I appreciate concerns of regulators but vaping works immediately and with considered supervision it is an excellent way to stop smoking

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