With the rules around electronic cigarettes in Australia complex and ever-changing, you’d be forgiven for not knowing whether it’s legal to vape here or not.
This article outlines the intricacies of the laws in this country state by state, so that you get a more comprehensive answer to the question – each state has different laws around vaping.
As a broad answer, however, it is legal to possess and/or use a vaping device (without nicotine) across all states, but it is not legal to purchase a vaping device in WA.
New South Wales
- Liquid nicotine may only be purchased if a doctor has prescribed it for health reasons
- Electronic cigarettes in Australia, NSW can be legally purchased as long as they do not contain nicotine
- Vaping devices cannot be sold from any temporary structure such as a tent or booth
- Retailers must register their business and notify NSW Health
- It is an offence to sell vaping accessories or devices to minors (under age 18), and the NSW Police are allowed to seize a device that is possessed by a minor.
- Vaping devices are banned from public places, including public transport
- Electronic cigarettes in Australia, NSW must be used in designated smoking areas, and not in smoke-free areas
- Vaping devices cannot be used in a car that contains a person under 16 as a passenger.
- Products cannot be marketed as having therapeutic qualities, such as being used as a smoking cessation device
- Free samples, shopping loyalty programs and sponsorships are not allowed
- Advertisements and products should not be able to be viewed by the public.
The laws around electronic cigarettes in Australia, Victoria are pretty much the same as they are in New South Wales, except that testing e-liquids in store is not allowed, and that vaping devices can be displayed in stores but only up to an area of 4msq.
In Queensland, the laws are very similar. The main difference is that electronic cigarettes in Australia, QLD cannot be displayed or promoted at all.
Again, the laws in Tasmania are similar. However, online vendors are not allowed to display pictures of the devices or e-liquids on their website.
The laws are slightly different in SA. Retailers need to possess a special licence, and internet sales of vaping products were banned on the 1st of October 2019.
The laws around electronic cigarettes in Australia in WA are a bit odd. People over the age of 18 are allowed to vape (without nicotine), even in cars, but they are not allowed to buy a vaping device (nor are retailers allowed to sell them). However, it is legal for vendors to sell e-liquids – though we’re not sure what they expect people to do with them! E-liquids are allowed to be displayed, advertised and promoted.
In the Northern Territory, the laws around vaping are similar to that of New South Wales’. However, retailers require a Tobacco Retail Licence to sell electronic cigarettes in Australia, NT.
The laws in the ACT are pretty much the same as they are for New South Wales, except it appears that you are allowed to vape in cars with minors.
The penalties for purchasing, using or possessing liquid nicotine (unless you have a prescription) vary depending on the state. The strictest penalty you could get would be $30,000 and/or a 2 year prison term in the ACT, and the lowest maximum penalty is a $1,100 fine in NSW. So make sure to follow the laws of each state to avoid penalties!