Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes have caused lawmakers around the world to pause and think about how this relatively new technology should be regulated in society. Because of a history of slowly mounting pressure for people to move from traditional cigarettes (due to the public health costs of associated conditions) there is confusion about the healthiness of vaping, its legitimacy as a quitting method and how it should be treated differently from traditional cigarettes.
In Australia, we have some of the strictest vaping regulations when compared with other developed nations. To make everything even more confusing, the laws around vaping and access to nicotine-infused e-juices vary between the states and territories.
There has been a variety of changes big and small in vaping laws over the last couple of years and if you’re going to pick up the hobby its prudent to know what they are and where the law currently stands. This article will take a look at the current legal status of vaping and nicotine e-juice importation in Australia.
Are e-cigarette devices legal to buy and own?
Yes, it’s 100% legal to purchase, own and use an e-cigarette device in Australia. However, there are restrictions about where you can use them and where they are allowed to be advertised and distributed. You can’t use establishments and public places that are protected by the Smoke Free Environment Act (2000). You can’t use an e-cigarette in a car with a child under 16 years old.
Are e-liquids legal to buy and own?
Yes, regular e-liquids (no nicotine content) are legal in Australia and purchasable at local brick & mortar stores or online. However, the sale of e-liquids with nicotine is currently banned due the fact nicotine is listed as a Schedule 7 ‘dangerous poison’ when not used in smoking products (regular cigarettes) and in nicotine replacement products such as shoulder patches.
Nicotine-infused e-liquids may not be freely available at your local vape shop, but they can be legally acquired by those with a doctor’s prescription from a registered Australian GP. Nicotine e-juice can be prescribed by a doctor for therapeutic relaxation and/or to help avoid relapse when quitting smoking.
Are nicotine e-liquids legal to import?
Under the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) Personal Importation Scheme, you are permitted to order nicotine e-liquids from overseas suppliers and have them shipped to Australia for your personal use. It is illegal to attempt to re-sell any of this nicotine e-juice domestically.
The law allows you to purchase a 3-month supply for personal use and up the 15 months supply per annum. You still need a doctor’s perception to import nicotine e-liquid. You should research what is considered a 3-month supply and other details about importation.
Are e-cigarettes allowed in public areas?
Generally, the same etiquette applies to vape devices like e-cigarettes as applies to traditional cigarettes. You don’t want to do it in enclosed spaces where other people are going to passively experience it, especially where children are present.
You want to use common sense when vaping so that you don’t rub anyone the wrong way and contribute to the negative stereotype of vapers being obnoxious people who can’t keep their hands still. Explaining the difference between a vape and a traditional cigarette isn’t really accepted by people as an excuse to vape indoors or nearby non-consenting people.
What is the legal age requirement to start vaping in Australia?
Just like traditional cigarettes and alcohol, the minimum legal age to use an e-cigarette is 18. It’s illegal to sell e-cigs to people under 18 and its illegal to buy one on behalf of someone under 18.
Police officers have the power to confiscate e-cigarettes and other vaping devices they discover in the possession of a minor.
How do vaping and e-juice laws vary between state and territories?
The following table outlines what is permitted in each state and territory and what is not with regards to vaping and nicotine e-juice importation.
Do your research and use common sense
Above all, you want to make sure you are informed about the laws around vaping and the unspoken rules of vaping etiquette. This will prevent you from getting into situations where you are fined by the police or end up being asked to leave a space because you’re breaking the rules and trying to vape where you shouldn’t.
Keep in mind; vaping is your hobby, don’t be a pest to others by making them tolerate it when they don’t want to.