Understanding Australian Vaping & E Cigarette Laws

July 17, 2017

Vaping laws in Australia, understand the facts

The laws in Australia for the sale, purchase and use of electronic cigarettes, e-liquids and nicotine can be confusing. Each State and Territory has slightly different laws and there are also proposed changes to some legislation on the horizon.

Under Australian law all things vaping are generally treated as a tobacco products and similar laws to smoking apply.

Here's a summary of the current legislation to help you make sense of it all. By having the latest information you can make informed decisions about how and where you vape.

Can I buy nicotine in Australia? 

It is currently illegal to sell liquid nicotine or e-liquids that contain nicotine in all States and Territories of Australia, as it is classified as a 'Schedule 7 - Dangerous Poison' under Commonwealth law.

The Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) determines which methods of nicotine delivery are approved and therefore legal. In Australia the only legal forms of nicotine are gums, lozenges, patches and sprays which are sold over the counter.

The TGA has not approved any electronic vaping device (e cigarette) for therapeutic use, and in March 2017 the TGA re-confirmed it's position to ban the sale of nicotine in Australia.

Liquid nicotine can be legally purchased online from other countries such as New Zealand, the UK and USA. However depending on the State or Territory you live in, it may not be legal to use that same nicotine or have it in your possession.

In some States it is legal to import up to three months personal supply of nicotine under the Personal Importation Scheme for Therapeutic Goods (Therapeutic Goods Act 1989), however there are limitations to this scheme. It is the responsibility of each person to do their own research into the importation and use of nicotine.

Australian Vaping laws

Here is a quick breakdown of the laws for each State and Territory:

Victoria

Laws are about to change. After 1 August 2017 using e cigarettes (with or without nicotine) will be prohibited in any legislated smoke-free area. This includes outdoor dining areas (restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops, licensed venues, outdoor dining courtyards and footpath dining), food fairs and other organised outdoor events when food is available for consumption.  At this time, sale of e cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18) will also be prohibited.

New South Wales

Using e-cigarettes (with or without nicotine) is prohibited in motor vehicles where a child under the age of 16 is present. The sale of e-cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18) is prohibited.

Using electronic cigarettes (with or without nicotine) is not currently against the law in indoor and outdoor public places (places where it is against the law to smoke analogue cigarettes). Individual establishments and workplaces may have their own policies to ban patrons / staff using electronic cigarettes on their premises. Please always respect any such policy.

Queensland

Using e cigarettes (with or without nicotine) is prohibited in any legislated smoke-free areas. The sale of e cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18) is prohibited. Vaping, e-liquids and e cigarettes are all treated as tobacco products. All forms of nicotine are illegal. The QLD Health Department may seize your device and/or ejuice for testing.

Tasmania

There are currently no restrictions for using e-cigarettes (without nicotine) as vaping is not currently classified under tobacco laws. This means that it is currently legal to vape in smoking and smoke-free areas.

The Tasmanian Government is working through changes to legislation in the coming months, which proposes to ban use of e-cigarettes (with or without nicotine) in smoke-free areas and to create a mandatory licensing system for the sale of electronic cigarettes (including online sales). The sale of e-cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18) would also be prohibited. Health Advocacy groups are campaigning for the complete ban on the sale and use of all electronic cigarettes and related products in Tasmania.

South Australia

There are currently no restrictions for using e cigarettes (without nicotine) as vaping is not currently classified under tobacco laws. This means that it is currently legal to vape in smoking and smoke-free areas.

The South Australian Government is also working through changes to legislation to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes, however it is intended that e cigarette products would be defined separately to tobacco products. Proposed changes are to ban use of electronic cigarettes (with or without nicotine) in smoke-free areas and to create a mandatory licensing system for the sale of electronic cigarettes (including online sales). The sale of electronic cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18) would also be prohibited. 

Western Australia

Laws for Western Australia are a bit confusing ... It is illegal to sell electronic cigarette hardware, however  it is legal to use electronic cigarettes or e-liquids (without nicotine). There are currently no restrictions for using electronic cigarettes, which means that it is currently legal to vape in both smoking and smoke-free areas. Individual establishments and workplaces may have their own policies to ban patrons / staff using electronic cigarettes on their premises. Please always respect any such policy.

Australian Capital Territory

As of 1 August 2016 electronic cigarettes are considered to be a tobacco product. The sale of electronic cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18) is prohibited. Using electronic cigarettes (with or without nicotine) is prohibited in any legislated smoke-free areas (enclosed public places, outdoor eating and drinking areas, underage functions) and in motor vehicles where a child under the age of 16 is present. Individual establishments and workplaces may have their own policies to ban patrons / staff using electronic cigarettes on their premises. Please always respect any such policy.

Northern Territory

There are currently no restrictions for using electronic cigarettes (without nicotine) as vaping is not currently classified under tobacco laws. This means that it is currently legal to vape in smoking and smoke-free areas. Individual establishments and workplaces may have their own policies to ban patrons / staff using electronic cigarettes on their premises. Please always respect any such policy.

We may not agree with all of the vaping laws in Australia and can feel frustrated that our government's view of vaping isn't as progressive that of other countries (like our Kiwi cousins over the Pacific). On the positive side, we can feel encouraged that as vaping gains more support in other countries around the world .... law will eventually change in Australia too.

Please be considerate of others, this is the best thing we can all do to help vaping become more widely accepted. In a nutshell ... don't vape where you can't smoke. 

 

Disclaimer:  The above advice is based on information available at the time of publishing and is intended as a guide only. It is each vaper's responsibility to check and be aware of the current laws for their own State or Territory as legislation may change.

For more information check out these links:  Australian e cigarette laws   Australian e cigarette information






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