Australian Law

Australia has a strict regulatory environment for vaping with a complex mix of both Federal and State laws.

The Federal Government regulates the use of nicotine under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. While the States and Territories manage the laws governing the sale, age limits on purchase, display and promotion of vaping products and the use in public places, this has led to a complicated legal environment for vaping.

Australian Commonwealth regulation of nicotine

Under Australian poison regulations, the possession and use of nicotine for vaping is effectively banned.

Under Federal regulation, medicines and poisons are classified into schedules, which determine how they are regulated. Nicotine is classified as a Schedule 7 ’dangerous poison’. As such it is illegal to buy, possess or use nicotine for vaping without a prescription from a doctor. However, nicotine in tobacco and nicotine replacement products are exempt and freely available.

There are three main ways of legally acquiring nicotine e-liquid in Australia. All three require a prescription from a doctor.

  1. A smoker can import three months’ worth of personal supply of nicotine from overseas under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Personal Importation Scheme.
  2. An approved Australian pharmacy can prepare nicotine liquid for individual patients. This service is currently only available through Nicopharm.
  3. By way of a nicotine-containing product approved by the TGA. There are presently no nicotine-containing e-cigarettes approved. The approval process is expensive and time-consuming and not practical for most vape manufacturers.

Few vapers use these methods, however, and although it is legal, few Australian doctors will prescribe nicotine due to the lack of official endorsement and knowledge about vaping.

Unfortunately, most users feel compelled to either import nicotine illegally without a prescription or purchase it from the unregulated black market.

Each State and Territory in Australia has different legislation. Usually, vaping falls under tobacco control laws rather than consumer products legislation. In February 2019, the Northern Territory Parliament was the last State or Territory to pass legislation to regulate vaping.

State and Territory Laws

The States and Territories manage the laws governing the sale, age limits on purchase, display and promotion of vaping products and use in public places. There are serious penalties for acquiring, using and/or possessing liquid nicotine unless it is prescribed by a doctor to help you quit or cut down smoking.

 

Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however may be sold without nicotine.
Advertising and Promotions
  • No promotions are allowed for e-cigarettes in NSW.
  • Retailers are not allowed to display advertising inside the store or in public.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free areas.
  • Use of vaporisers in business and workplaces is up to the individual premises who can develop their own policies on the use of e-cigarettes.
In Car with Minors
  • Banned with children under 16 in the car.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $1,100.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.
Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however, may be sold without nicotine.
Advertising and Promotions
  • Retailers are allowed limited internal display of vaping items, restricted to an area of four metres squared.
  • No promotions are allowed for e-cigarettes in the Victoria.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • Banned with children under 16 in the car.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $15,546.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017.
Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however may be sold without nicotine.
Advertising and Promotions
  • No promotions are allowed for e-cigarettes in QLD.
  • Retailers are not allowed to display advertising inside the store or in public.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • Banned with children under 16 in the car.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $9,752.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.
Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however may be sold without nicotine.
Advertising and Promotions
  • No promotions are allowed for e-cigarettes in Tasmania.
  • Retailers are not allowed to display advertising inside the store or in public.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • Vaping is banned in all cars where a child is present.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $7,850 or up to two years in prison.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Poisons Act 1971.
Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however e-cigarettes without nicotine may be sold as long as they do not 'resemble' cigarettes and they are sold in person. There is a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine in person, online, by phone and via mail across South Australia.
Advertising and Promotions
  • No promotions are allowed for e-cigarettes in South Australia. Retailers are not allowed to display advertising inside the store or in public.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • Banned with children under 16 years of age in the car.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $10,000.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Controlled Substances Act 1984.

 

References

No relevant legislation, however, the Tobacco Control Legislation Amendment Bill passed the Parliament in November with regulation due to take effect in March 2019.

Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however may be sold without nicotine.
  • The sale of e-cigarette hardware is illegal if they 'resemble' cigarettes. This definition of 'resemble' cigarettes has a broad definition and as such enforcement agencies have a significant disretion.
Advertising and Promotions
  • There are no restrictions on advertising or promoting non-nicotine e-liquids.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • Banned with children under 16 in the car.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $45,000.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.
Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however may be sold without nicotine.
  • There are no age restrictions
Advertising and Promotions
  • No restrictions on promotional material.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • No restriction on use in cars.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Allowed.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $15,400 or up to 12 months prison.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act.

 

References

The Tobacco Control Legislation Amendment Bill passed the Assembly in February with regulation due to take effect in July 2019. This will restrict vaping and vaping products in the same way as tobacco in terms of sale, age limits on purchase, display and promotion of vaping products and use in public places.

Sale
  • The sale of vaporisers with nicotine is banned, however may be sold without nicotine.
Advertising and Promotions
  • No promotions are allowed for e-cigarettes in the ACT.
  • Retailers are not allowed to display advertising inside the store or in public.
Smoke-Free Areas
  • Vaping is not allowed in smoke-free areas.
In Car with Minors
  • Banned with children under 16 in the car.
Sampling of E-Liquid in Store
  • Banned.
Penalty for Possession of Nicotine
  • $30,000 and two years in prison.
Relevant Legislation Regarding Nicotine Possession
  • Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.