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However, the market has been a Wild West of sorts since its development in the early 2000s. As the market has grown exponentially since then, there have been many laws put into place over concerns for consumer safety. Many countries are treating vaporizers and e-cigs like traditional cigarettes, meaning they can only be purchased by adults and only used in designated areas. This is very true of Australia, where many states are categorising e-cigs as tobacco products. There is no federal Australian law governing the use of e-cigs, so Aussie vapers need to be aware of the laws in their territory before making an e-cigarette purchase.
At a national level, however, the central problem for vapers, especially for those looking to stop smoking, is the law regarding nicotine. This is the one national law concerning vaporizers and e-cigs in Australia, and it is a law which makes purchasing vaporizers, e-juice, or e-cigarettes very difficult for many former smokers.
In Australia, nicotine is classified as a Schedule 7 Poison. Therefore, it cannot be legally sold in the country, except where it is authorised for therapeutic use as a licensed medication. However, Australian vapers can purchase any e-cigarette or e-juice without nicotine in almost every Australian state. The only issue is knowing where you can and cannot use your devices.
Australian states have many conflicting “smoking areas.” More often than not, it is at the discretion of a business owner to decide whether or not vaping devices and e-cigs are allowed inside an establishment, unless the territory law explicitly states the e-cigarettes cannot be used indoors or near doors, windows, or parks. With all of the different laws, it can be difficult to stay abreast of new information.
Vape Health and Safety Australia
Of course, there is also the question of safety and health where e-cigarettes and vaping are concerned. This is more often than not the reason for strict legislation regarding e-cigarettes and their accessories. The market is a new one and has only recently skyrocketed in popularity. There has been little time to make meaningful inquiry into the health risks of vaping as opposed to smoking, so countries like Australia are erring on the side of caution.
Opinions are obviously divided on the topic of vaporising and health, for good reason. Not many conclusive studies have been done, so health professionals are attempting to protect the public from any possible long-term effects of vaping. At the same time, vaporizer companies are attempting to supply eager customers with exciting new products.
The one compromise that has been reached is the possibility that vaporising could be an effective smoking cessation aid. Health professionals cannot condone the use of vaporizers as healthy, so they recommend that if you do not smoke currently, you should not pick up an e-cig or any other type of vaporizer. However, many will speak of relative harm in the debate between cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.
Relative harm is the true crux of the argument, since e-juice that has been tested thus far is known to contain some carcinogens also found in combustible cigarettes. For example, some tested vape juices contained the chemical diacetyl, which can cause lung scarring when inhaled. Others were found to contain formaldehyde, a possible carcinogen. Both of these chemicals can be found in analogue cigarettes. However, the idea here is that while vaporising may contain these chemicals, e-cigs do not even come close to the 4,000 chemicals created by combustible cigarettes.
Furthermore, many will argue that vaporizers by their very nature are a better choice than analogue cigarettes. Vaporizers do not combust anything—unless your atomizer is broken—and therefore produce no smoke. They heat up a concentrate and produce an aerosol, which is inhaled into the lungs. While this presents some issues, many argue that a vapour is fundamentally better than inhaling pure smoke into the lungs. Many, many vapers will often say something like, “Well, at least it’s better than smoking, right?” to sum up the relative harm argument.
While this may be true, it should be stressed that there are others who disagree with this stance, and who feel that there is not, as yet, enough positive evidence to support it. This is not incorrect either, and thus the debate continues. Many argue that while the initial ingredients in vape juice—propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin—are not immediately harmful to the body, as they have been approved for human consumption, they still may create some very dangerous chemical compounds as soon as they are vaporised.
Adding to this concern is the fact that e-liquid has not been regulated by any government body, so there is no guarantee of the ingredients in cartridges or vape juice being sold to consumers in Australia (or elsewhere). This is where legislation comes in: countries like Australia are attempting to get a hold of the market before it becomes too complex to regulate or keep safe for customers.
So, what’s the conclusion to vaporising and health concerns? Truth be told, there is currently no conclusion. The market is far too young and unexplored to say definitively whether or not vaporising is or is not a health concern. However, we can say with some degree of certainty that smoking is no better and that many vapers have turned to this alternative in a commendable effort to reduce their nicotine intake or stop smoking entirely.
The opinions remain divided, and it will no doubt be a long road to compromise between health professionals and vaporising companies and hobbyists. One thing, however, is certain: opponents of free vaping rights as well as vaporising enthusiasts both call for further study into the effects of vaporising on the body. As the market continues to grow, there will undoubtedly be unprecedented research into the long-term effects on the body.
As with the laws governing vaporising, we recommend keeping up with the latest studies done into vaporising. This way you’ll be able to stay well-informed and make wise purchases regarding e-cigarettes and vape juice.
State of Vape Play in Australia
As we mentioned, it is vital that as a vaper in Australia, you keep up to date on the vaporizer laws in your home territory. They can change drastically from one part of Australia to another, so we’ve put together a short guide of all the relevant laws in Australian territories pertaining to e-cigarettes, their purchasing, and use.
Again, the only national law regarding e-cigarettes in Australia is the fact that nicotine is classified as a Schedule 7 Poison, so its sale and possession are illegal without the proper permits.
The opinions surrounding Australian vape laws vary immensely. Some say they are a necessary step in protecting the public from unknown long-term vaping effects. Others criticise the laws, especially the harsh legislation of Queensland and Western Australia, as too strict. Some even say these laws will put an end to the vaping market entirely in these territories. Below, we’ll look at each Australian state separately so that you can find those laws that will affect you directly. Finally, we’ll take a look at importation laws for those looking to get nicotine in their e-cigarettes and e-liquid.
Of all the Australian states, Queensland is the strictest in their laws concerning e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes cannot be displayed or promoted in any shop, because they are classed as tobacco products under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act of 1998. This may come as a surprise to many, since e-cigs did not technically exist in 1998 and technically do not contain any tobacco. This is one example of a country attempting to classify the vaporizer market under existing laws, but it is a contested point among many.
Unlike elsewhere in Australia, it is illegal to use an e-cigarette that contains nicotine at all. However, you are free to use any e-cig that does not contain nicotine.
Interestingly, it is still possible to obtain and smoke analogue cigarettes. Many vapers in Queensland have given up vaping and returned to smoking due to the inconvenience of these laws.
Western Australia is also one of the more difficult territories in which to purchase e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes in WA are classified as items that mimic smoking, which does not necessarily mean in their appearance. Mimicking smoking also includes the act of inhalation, so it extends to vaporizer pens and mods as well.
In Western Australia, you cannot purchase e-cigarettes. However, it is legal to purchase them from other states, and it is legal to use them anywhere smoking is allowed.
Relative to Western Australia and Queensland, most of the rest of Australia is lax in its approach to e-cigarette legislation.
In the Northern Territory, e-cigarettes are not currently classified as tobacco products. So the situation for residents of the Northern Territory is still a little unclear due to this ambiguity.
E-cigarettes can legally be used, but, again, you must have the proper paperwork to obtain nicotine legally.
Unlike Western Australia, you are allowed to purchase e-cigarettes and vaporizers in the Northern Territory.
South Australia is one of the more vaping-friendly Australian states because vaporizers and e-cigarettes are not classified as tobacco products there, so it is perfectly legal to use them with or without nicotine. Moreover, it is legal to buy and sell e-cigs and vaporizers in South Australia.
New South Wales
Like South Australia, e-cigs remain unclassed. Because of this, the laws are relatively lax. It is legal to buy and sell e-cigarettes and vaporizers. It is also legal to use both e-cigarettes that contain and do not contain nicotine.
The only ambiguity is where one is allowed to vape. It is generally up to a business owner to decide whether or not vaping is allowed in his or her establishment.
Victoria, too, is a vape-friendly state of Australia, as e-cigarettes remain unclassed and are therefore not regulated under tobacco laws.
It is legal to use nicotine-free e-cigs and e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. It is also legal to sell and purchase e-cigs and nicotine free liquids.
For the most part, Victoria is a vape-friendly state, despite the national nicotine ban.
Australian Capital Territory
The laws regarding e-cigarettes and vaporizers here are very similar to the more lax states. E-cigs remain unclassed and therefore do not fall under anti-smoking laws.
E-cigarettes can be sold, without nicotine, and bought legally within the state. E-cigarettes, with and without nicotine, can also be used legally.
Like the other states that do not classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, Tasmania remains liberal on their e-cigarette legislation.
It is legal to buy and sell e-cigs with no nicotine, and it is legal to use them with or without nicotine.
Again, it will be up to any business owner to decide whether or not e-cigarettes can be used indoors.
Importation of Nicotine and E-Cigs into Australia
All of these laws apply to purchasing e-cigarettes and their accessories in brick and mortar shops in their respective state. However, many all over the world are turning to e-commerce to find the best vaporizers, e-cig, vape juice, mod, et cetera. It may come as a surprise to many that it is perfectly legal in many Australian states to import nicotine containing products for your personal use.
Despite the national nicotine ban, one is able to—at least in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania—import nicotine for personal use. But, the importation for person use does come with some stipulations.
First, importation is only legal so long as you are purchasing for yourself or a family member who is 18 years or older. The nicotine containing e-cigs or e-juice that you purchase cannot be sold or given to someone else-especially not a minor, as this is strictly prohibited. It is always recommended that nicotine products be kept in their original packaging for identification purposes, but this isn’t entirely necessary.
The amount you are allowed to import for personal use has some limitations as well. At one time, you are not allowed to import more than a three-month supply of nicotine. Also, in a 12-month period, you will only be allowed to import a 15-month supply of nicotine products. To import more than this, you need special permission from an Australian registered doctor.
These stipulations are pretty easy and should not impede the casual vaper from obtaining nicotine online. For the most part, they are commonsense laws and give the consumer plenty of leeway for shopping online.
The laws in the Northern Territory are a little bit stricter, as they will require a permit in order to import products containing nicotine.
In Queensland, again, the laws are by far the strictest. Here, consumers are not able to import nicotine for personal use at all. You will need to purchase nicotine outside of the state entirely, and it cannot be brought in. Again, many vapers in Queensland have found themselves switching back to traditional cigarettes because there are so many restrictions on e-cigs and vaporizers.
For the most part, Australian vaping and e-cigarette laws are manageable. They pose some inconvenience, especially when it comes to purchasing nicotine, but personal importation is a legal and simple way to obtain e-cigarettes containing nicotine and vape juice. Of course, some territories are much more difficult to navigate than others. Next, we’ll look at the best (and worst) Australian states in which to vape.
If you’re looking for a reputable online merchant to import nicotine goods, we recommend checking out our reviews of different vaping companies. For example, look at Australia-based Vaper Empire for quality e-liquids or VaporFi for an exceptional e-cigarette.
Best AU Territories to Vape
As always, it is recommended that vapers in Australia check the relevant laws in their own states to be sure as to where they stand with respect to vaping and the purchasing of e-cigarette devices and accessories. However, let’s have a look at arguably the best and worst Australian states for vapers:
Western Australia is among the strictest of all the states where the laws on vaping are concerned. Vapers here can use either nicotine or non-nicotine e-cigarette devices, but the local government has, despite this, made things extremely hard for vapers in this state. According to the Tobacco Products Control Act, e-cigarettes are bracketed as a product that imitates smoking, which of course takes into account how the product in actually used as opposed to just its shape as size. Because of this, if you are going to an establishment where smoking is prohibited, you may not use your e-cigarette device.
Queensland is, arguably, worse still for vapers in Australia, as nicotine may not be legally imported into the state, even for personal use. For vapers in QLD who need a nicotine fix, it appears that the options are tobacco cigarettes or…tobacco cigarettes.
By contrast, Victoria is one of the best states for vapers in Australia. Here, vaping devices do not fall under any existing antismoking laws, and vapers can use e-cigs with or without nicotine. Those vapers who require nicotine may legally import it for personal use.