Are Electronic Cigarettes Legal in Australia?

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 vaping laws that are already some of the strictest in the world and that vary more between the different states.

There has been a number of legislative changes over the past few years, mainly regarding the sale of e-cigarettes and where they can be used. In this guide we cover Australian vaping laws on a national and state level and look at how you can legally vape in Australia.

Are electronic cigarettes legal in Australia?

Yes, it is legal to own and use e-cigarettes and vape devices in Australia. There are restrictions on use in indoor and outdoor public places, in vehicles with a children under 16 years of age and how and where they can be promoted and sold, which are covered in the individual state guides below.

The main confusion regarding vaping in Australia is around E-Liquid. While 0% nicotine e-liquid is available to buy in local stores, the commercial sale of nicotine e-liquid is currently banned.

However, while nicotine e-liquid is not freely available on the high street, residents and visitor’s to Australia can still legally vape nicotine if they hold a valid prescription.

Related : Travelling to Australia with e-cigarettes & nicotine e-liquids

Is e-liquid containing nicotine legal for personnel use?

Yes, it is legal to posses and use nicotine e-liquid for personnel use, but you are required to have a prescription from a registered Australian medical practitioner.

Nicotine is classified as a Schedule 7 ’dangerous poison’, except when used in tobacco for smoking and medicinal nicotine replacement products.

If prescribed by a registered doctor, nicotine e-liquid is reclassified as a Schedule 4 product (prescription only) and is legal for ‘therapeutic use’ (eg to quit or reduce smoking or to prevent relapse).

Can I purchase e-liquid containing nicotine from overseas and have it shipped to Australia?

You can legally import nicotine from overseas to help you quit or reduce smoking under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Personal Importation Scheme.

The scheme covers residents of all Australian states and allows for importation of 3 months’ supply at a time for personal use, up to a total of 15 months’ supply per year. You must have a prescription from a registered Australian doctor.

For more information regarding prescriptions, importing nicotine to Australia and what constitutes 3 months supply of e-liquids click the link below.

Related : Importing nicotine liquid to Australia with a prescription guide

Related : Buying nicotine e-liquid guide

Are e-cigarettes banned in public places?

As a general rule, e-cigarettes can be used wherever smoking is not banned. As vaping laws have been modified over recent years, vaping has been Incorporated into existing smoking legislation. This means their use is prohibited in smoke-free area’s.

Smoke-free areas where people cannot smoke or use e-cigarettes are:

  • All indoor public places
  • Outdoor public places:
    • Within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places
    • Public swimming pools
    • Spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas used for organised sporting events
    • Public transport stops and platforms, including ferry wharves and taxi ranks
    • Within 4 metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building
    • Commercial outdoor dining areas
    • Public transport, such as buses, trains, ferries

What is the legal age to vape in Australia?

The legal age to vape is 18. It is an offence to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 years old. It is also an offence for an adult to purchase a vaporiser for a minor.

Police have the power to seize a vaporiser that is in the possession of a person under the age of 18.

New South Wales (NSW) Vaping Laws

NEW SOUTH WALES VAPING LAWS

Electronic cigarettes classification was updated in the Public Health (Tobacco) Amendment (E-cigarettes) Act 2015.

The national ban on selling or supplying nicotine liquids still applies but it is legal to import them for personal use, with a prescription. It’s also legal to use nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes, again provided the individual has a prescription from a registered doctor.

Vaping in indoor and outdoor public places is banned (see details below). Businesses and workplaces are free to develop their own smoke-free policies to restrict patrons and staff using e-cigarettes on their premises.

NSW restricts the sale of e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories to people under the age of 18 and it is also an offence to use e-cigarettes in cars with children under the age of 16.

As e-cigarettes are classed as tobacco products for the purpose of advertising, restrictions on ad’s, displays & promotions have been put in place – see retailers factsheet for more details. Retailers who only sell e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories are able to allow customers to vape within their store if they apply for special exemption.

Legislation:
Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008;
Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966;
Public Health Tobacco Act 2008;
Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW)

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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Victoria (VIC) Vaping Laws

VICTORIA VAPING LAWS

Victoria has updated the Tobacco Act 1987 to regulate the sale, advertising and restricted places of use of e-cigarette products.

It’s legal to use non-nicotine electronic cigarettes, to sell devices and nicotine-free liquids and to import and use nicotine for personal use with a prescription.

The sale of e-cigarette products containing nicotine is banned under Victorian drugs and poisons legislation. Adults can continue to purchase and use non-nicotine e-cigarettes. They can be used in areas where smoking is not banned.

It is illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. Victoria has also limited advertising and promotion of vaping products – view the e-cigarette reforms factsheet here.

Legislation:

Victoria E-cigarette reform factsheet
Certified specialist e-cigarette retailing premises guide
Tobacco Act 1987

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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Queensland (QLD) Vaping Laws

QUEENSLAND VAPING LAWS

Queensland has a reputation for strict enforcement of laws related to vaping, however as the state government recently admitted, vapers are free to import nicotine e-liquids under the TGA Personnel Importation scheme.

This means liquid nicotine becomes a schedule 4 (prescription only medicine) and people are free to use, import, travel inter-state and abroad with liquid nicotine provided they have a prescription from a Australian registered practitioner.

Foreign visitors travelling to Queensland’s popular tourist destinations can bring nicotine e-liquids, but should have a prescription from a doctor in their home country.

E-cigarettes are classed as tobacco products under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998. This means there are restrictions on where they can be used, such as hotels, clubs, outdoor pedestrian malls and all existing no-smoking indoor and outdoor places. For the full list check here.

The Tobacco Act makes it illegal to display or promote vaping products in retail premises. Non-nicotine vape devices can be sold but must not make therapeutic claims such as ‘this product will help you quit or reduce smoking’ .

Legislation:

Queensland Health Information page
Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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Tasmania (TAS) Vaping Laws

TASMANIA VAPING LAWS

Tasmania is another state that has updated its laws to regard vaping the same as smoking. This means the same restrictions on use in smoke-free areas now apply to vapers.

Again vape stores cannot sell liquid nicotine, and are restricted on how they can advertise e-cigarettes. It is legal to use and import nicotine liquid with a prescription from an Australian doctor (or a doctor in your country if you are visiting Australia).

It should be known that although it is legal the department of health advises against using nicotine liquids due to lack of assessment and approval at national level.

For more information on smoke-free areas in Tasmania click the links below. They include certain public events, public swimming pools and between the flags at a beach, any work vehicle with another person in it, within 10 metres of a childrens playground.

Legislation & Links:

Fact Sheet: New laws for Electronic Cigarettes in Tasmania
Tobacco Control Laws
Public Health Act 1997

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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South Australia (SA) Vaping Laws

SOUTH AUSTRALIA VAPING LAWS

Electronic cigarette legislation has recently been updated in South Australia. Changes to the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 bring in increased fines (up to $20,000 for a first offence) for any business caught selling vape products to a person under 18 years.

Businesses are now required to hold a Retail Tobacco and E-Cigarette Merchant’s Licence and from 1st October 2019 will no longer be able to sell online.

Additional rules for retailers include a ban on providing free samples, prizes, gifts and displaying e-cigarette products at the point of sale.

The new law introduces on the spot fines of $105 for using electronic cigarettes in smoke-free areas, such as –

  • enclosed public places, workplaces and shared areas, including inside a retail shop;
  • motor vehicles if a child under the age of 16 years is present;
  • under covered public transport areas;
  • near children’s playground equipment; and
  • outdoor dining areas and other outdoor areas that have been declared smoke-free.

Legislation:
South Australia – New e-Cigarette Law Fact sheet

Selling e-cigarettes in South Australia – Retailer Fact Sheet

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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Western Australia (WA) Vaping Laws

Western Australia is one the strictest out of all the states when it comes to the selling of vape devices.

Electronic cigarettes are 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 vape devices 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.

It’s legal to use e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine. WA vapers are still allowed to import nicotine for personal use and can legally buy e-cigarettes from other Australian states.

Legislation:
Electronic cigarettes in Western Australia Fact Sheet
TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL ACT 2006

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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Northern Territory (NT) Vaping Laws

NORTHERN TERRITORY VAPING LAWS

A recent amendment to the Tobacco Control Act 2002 means the situation for vapers in the Northern Territory is changing from 1 July 2019. The NT Government will start to regulate e-cigarette products in the same way as tobacco products.

Vapers will now be restricted where they can legally vape, including all smoke-free areas and in a car with a child under 16 years.

Retailers will be required to hold a Tobacco Retail Licence and retail employees must be over 18 years old to sell vape products .

It is legal to use nicotine e-liquid in vape devices, providing a person holds a valid prescription from a registered Australian doctor.

Legislation:

Fact sheet about the new laws for consumers (commencing 1 July 2019)

Tobacco Control Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (passed Feb 2019)

Retailers information about E-cigarettes and related accessories

Northern Territory Government website

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

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Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Vaping Laws

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Vaping Laws

The laws about vaping in the ACT are fairly typical of most states. Vaping is classed the same as regular cigarettes and so there are restrictions on where they can be used and sold. Vaping is not allowed anywhere smoking is banned.

E-cigarettes with nicotine can be used legally with a prescription from a registered doctor. It is also legal to import liquid nicotine if the person holds a valid prescription.

Legislation:

ACT fact sheet on Electronic Cigarettes
Smoke-free Public Places Act 2003

Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1927

The use of e-cigarettes with e-liquid containing nicotine is legal,with a prescription from a medical practitioner

Importing nicotine for personal use from overseas is legal, with a prescription from a medical practitioner

The sale of vape devices & non-nicotine e-liquids is legal

Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free* areas, including all indoor public places

The sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal

The sale of all e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 is illegal

The use of e-cigarettes in cars carrying children under the age of 16 is illegal

Promotional advertising in retail stores of e-cigarettes is illegal

Vaping advocacy and vape laws

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

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 is legal to import nicotine liquids for personal use (with a prescription from a registered medical practitioner), so that’s what most Australian vapers do.

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

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

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 further laws, either from Canberra or at state level, and vapers are going to have to fight this as hard as they can.

As we state in the article the legislation around vaping is constantly changing, so we advise you check for up-dates to to law on the relevant state and federal websites. The information provided by here cannot be considered as binding legal advice.

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Jim Lawson

Smoking since my late teens, with a few unsuccessful attempts to quit behind me I discovered vaping in 2012. I have been smoke free since. As a tech geek, I love how vaping allows me to try new set-ups & new innovations. When i'm not testing vape products for ozvapour I can be found watching the EPL or hiking a national park.
Jim Lawson
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20 Comments
  1. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually recognise what you’re talking about! Bookmarked.

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

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

  7. 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. 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.”

  9. Thanks for sharing

  10. 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?

  11. 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

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

  13. 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

  14. 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).

  15. Great post, thanks for sharing nice informative article.

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. I don’t believe for a second that our exorbitant prices in Aus for tobacco products has anything to do with “”Smokers Health””, it’s all about the Government’s Greed for money !!!!!

    FACTS:

    (1) The Liberal Government has a massive “black hole in it’s Budgets from year after year, wasted trillions on preventing “”Legal Refugees”” coming to our shores, paying the refudgees to turn back, buying boats for the Indonesian’s too help stop “”Legal Refudgees”” making it to our shores, buying boats from the people smugglers and “”Locking Legal Refudgees up like Criminals”” paying Mannus and Narew Islands for houseing them in inhumane conditions. Contracts given to Liberal Party family members.

    (2) Our Public Hospitals have not improved one eye otter, as “”stated by the government these extra taxes were to go too our ailing health system. Our Hospitals are still falling apart, under staffed and patients waiting times for operations, specialists services “” HAVE NOT IMPROVED””

    (3) The Liberal Government used the “”Legal Refudgees”” as porns in its Scare Campaign of “”War on Terrorism””, when in fact it was home grown terrorism facing the country. Now where spending trillions on “”Scare Campaigns”” to erode our “”Civil Rights and Right to Privacy”” allegedly to prevent this Terrorism. 98% of Criminals don’t use normal communications, money well wasted and a slight improvement in the Ratings Poles with great losses to our law abiding citizens.

    (4) If our Government was fair dinkim about smokers health, then vaping would be available to all Australians smokers tomorrow, and the Country would see a 99.9% sudden drop in an instant to smoking rates. Smokers have more than paid their taxes, yet our Government is still happy to ride on the backs of those who are addicted and dieing from smoking. There lives don’t matter to our current government, their “”merely Cash Cows”” who are expendable at any cost in order for the government to fill it’s “”Black Whole””.

    (5) I was a heavy smoker 50-60 cigarettes every day, year in and out for some 30 years. With serious spine problems for some 10 years now and unable to ever work again, I found myself just sitting around day and night unable to sleep and just smoking more and more. Then late last year a scan on my upper spine also revealed I had moderate emphysema from smoking, so I decided enough was enough I had to stop smokeing. In the past I had tried to give up smoking with all the normal stuff thats been around for years!! But none of them were helpful at all, I just wasted more money I didn’t have, even the new wonder pills didn’t work. Slowly of recent I heard more about Vaping and armed with my trusty Tablet off I went researching the one thing I was pretty sure would help me too stop smoking. I have been vaping for 6 weeks now and not a cigarette to be seen in the house and “”No no I’ve not touched 1 cigarette since”” in fact I can not stand the smell of them anymore. Even if vaping was illegal, I’d still do it, as the benefits are just to good to lose.

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