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Are E-Cigarettes Illegal in Australia?

Are electronic cigarettes illegal in Australia?

By keeping a keen eye on media reports, it is amazing how many times different sources have quoted that electronic cigarette are banned or illegal, it is simply untrue, sensationalist scare tactics.

The simple answer to this question is e-cigs are not banned or illegal to buy or sell in Australia. It is illegal to sell nicotine liquids or supply nicotine to be used in the devices, but the devices themselves are perfectly legal. E-liquid that contains no nicotine is also legal as it contains basic ingredients that can be purchased legally by consumers. The law is that you may import nicotine liquid for personal use from overseas if you require but it’s not necessary to use nicotine in the electronic cigarettes.

Most of the stories regarding this in the media are so factually incorrect that it is amusing. This proves that it is hard to believe everything that is published in the news.  Some articles use the word “banned” but when reading into the story and also have a knowledge of the law and the products, what they really as stating that sellers of the product are not allowed to claim they are a quit smoking aid.  So the conclusion is that if the packaging states that you can quit smoking or they are a healthy alternative to smoking, then yes, that’s not allowed.

Australia has a state and federal law system which means it can be confusing to understand just what is allowed and what is not. An example of this is if you want to import nicotine e-liquid for personal use then the states run under different acts regarding substances and they are worded like most legal documents, full of jargon, so they are hard to understand. It is also worth noting that things can change in this regard at any time. There have been rumours that QLD health seized some nicotine e-liquids that someone tried to import but again it’s hard to know if it’s a beat up or fact.

So back to the main facts:

Can I buy electronic cigarettes in shops or online? YES

Can I buy nicotine filled e-cigarettes or nicotine liquids in Australia? NO

Can I buy nicotine from overseas for personal use? YES

Can I be gifted nicotine liquid buy an Australian supplier? NO

Can I get non nicotine liquid to use in the devices in Australia? YES

Should I believe what I read in the media about e-cigs? NO

At the end of the day e-cigarettes will become more understood and used just like they are in the US and Europe and the Government might see the benefits of people swapping to vaping from smoking.  Some of these benefits include, saving a lot of money in the long run, the health system would benefit as would the users that switch to vaping and the devices could be regulated for safe use and informative choice. For now there will be misinformation from the media and laws that can’t keep up with new technology. Until big tobacco dies off and stop supporting and loading up some political parties with donations,  e-cigs will remain misunderstood with laws that stop anyone being able to explain the real user benefits regarding vaping vs smoking.

It’s easy to guess the benefits, an e-cig is basically a small fog machine that allows the user to inhale water vapour with some food grade flavouring vs inhaling burning tobacco laced with over 4000 chemicals, it really is not rocket science.

By Matt Bridgeman