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 (with a prescription from a registered medical practitioner), again unless state law says otherwise, so that’s what most Australian vapers do.

Personal Importation Scheme (click for full text)

For Full text please use this link – http://www.tga.gov.au/consumers/personal-importation-scheme.htm

Personal Importation Scheme

Under the Personal Importation Scheme you may import a 3 month supply at the one time (at the maximum dose recommended by the manufacturer) of unapproved therapeutic goods into Australia without any approval required by the TGA provided that:

  • the goods are for your own treatment or the treatment of your immediate family; and
  • you do not supply (sell or give) the medicine to any other person; and
  • where possible, you keep the medicines or medical devices in their original packaging with any dispensing labels intact; and
  • the goods are not restricted under Australian Customs controls or quarantine rules and the goods do not contain a controlled substance; and
  • the goods are not injections that contain material of human or animal origin (except insulin); and
  • the total quantity of the goods imported within a 12 month period does not exceed 15 months supply of the goods (for medicines, at the maximum dose recommended by the manufacturer); and
  • if the goods are medicines in Schedule 4 or 8 of the Poisons Standard a prescription from an Australian-registered medical practitioner is held for the medicines.

You cannot import more than a 3 month supply at the one time under the personal importation scheme. If you wish to bring more than 3 months supply at the one time into Australia, an Australian-registered doctor will first need to apply to the TGA for Special Access Scheme approval.

You should therefore check whether nicotine can be possessed or supplied in your own state or territory.

If the liquid nicotine is for a therapeutic use (such as smoking cessation), it is a prescription medicine. To import a prescription medicine you need to possess a valid prescription written by a registered Australian medical practitioner. Under most state and territory laws only a medical practitioner can only write a prescription for a medicine, or prescribe a substance that is for therapeutic use.

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.

Ozvapour advises that all Australian residents check their local state legislation regarding the importation of electronic cigarettes in their state of residence, as these laws may vary from federal legislation. The information provided by here cannot be considered as binding legal advice.

 

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 different.

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’s legal to import them for personal use. It’s also legal to use nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes.

Vaping in indoor and outdoor public places is allowed, although businesses and workplaces are free to ban 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.


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Victoria

 

Vaping Laws - Victoria

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 nicotine for personal use.

The sale, use and possession 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.


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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. 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. 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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