Since 1 October 2021, all nicotine vaping products are prescription only medicines across all Australian States and Territories.
It is illegal to import, buy or sell vape or e-liquid without a valid permit or prescription. Heavy penalties, including fines and imprisonments apply. This articles outlines the laws around vaping and electronic cigarettes in Australia.
The Australian Border Force now has the power to intercept packages of nicotine vapes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine.
Any imports which are not supported by a valid prescription, or which are in excess of the prescribed amount, may be assessed by the TGA to be unlawful under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
Importing, attempting to import, and possessing nicotine vaping products, without a prescription, classifies them as a ‘prohibited import’.
A maximum penalty of a $222,000 fine is applicable.
Consumers with a prescription are able to legally import e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine from overseas to aide in smoking cessation, in accordance with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Personal Importation Scheme.
Under the scheme, patients can order a maximum of three months’ supply at one time and a maximum of 15 months’ supply in a 12-month period, for personal use.
Alternatively, patients with valid prescriptions may purchase the products at an Australian pharmacy.
The Federal Government and the Therapeutic Goods Administration justified the change based on the significant increase in the use of nicotine e-cigarettes and other nicotine vaping products by young people, and the associated health dangers.
NEW SOUTH WALES
It is an offence to attempt to obtain, or have a restricted substance, such as nicotine vaping liquid, in one’s possession without a prescription.
The maximum penalty applicable for a restricted substance, such as nicotine vaping liquid, is a $2,200 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment.
In Victoria, it is illegal to sell, possess or use liquid containing nicotine in an e-cigarette, without a prescription.
In Queensland, it is prohibited to purchase, possess nicotine vaping liquid without a prescription, or to sell or supply, without lawful authority.
A person who buys or possesses nicotine vaping liquid, without a prescription or reasonable excuse, faces a maximum penalty of a $27,570 fine.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
It is illegal to purchase, sell and possess nicotine vaping liquid in the ACT, without a prescription or lawful authority.
In South Australia, it is illegal to sell nicotine vaping liquid or possess it, without a prescription, as outlined in the Controlled Substances Act 1984.
In Western Australia, it is illegal to sell, supply or possess an e-cigarette or any liquid that contains nicotine, without a doctor’s prescription.
A maximum penalty of a $45,000 fine is applicable to these offences.
In the Northern Territory, it is illegal to sell, supply or possess an e-cigarette or any liquid that contains nicotine, without a doctor’s prescription.
Using or possessing nicotine vaping liquid, without a doctor’s prescription, carries a maximum penalty of a $15,700 fine or 12 months imprisonment.
It is illegal for a person to have a nicotine vaping product in ones’ possession, without a prescription a maximum penalty of a $6,850 fine or 2-years imprisonment is applicable.