Vaping In Australia
While there are many states in Australia and each state may have their own state laws but when it comes to vaping, the laws from state to state carry many similarities. Some of you will wonder, what are the rules and regulations around vaping? Where can I vape? Where can’t I vape? Am I doing something wrong? In this blog we will look at the rules and regulations around Vaping in Australia.
- Vape stores cannot display vape products and accessories nor recommend the best vape product pending on each person’s preference, but can help customers set up vape products on a technical basis.
- Nicotine is an illegal substance to sell over the counter.
- Incentives to buy are not allowed (E.g. Instore reward programs and instore discounting)
- “No Smoking” signs now apply to vaping as well
- Vaping indoor is not allowed
- Taste testing of E-liquid/Vape Juice/E-juice is not allowed
- Testing vape products are not allowed
- Minors under the age of 18 years old cannot purchase vaping products
- Fines apply for both businesses and consumers who do not comply with law
Vape Store Restrictions
Vape stores cannot display vape products in store nor recommend products for you. Which meant that you need to know what you want to buy before you come in. This is a common law all across the country with the exception of Victoria. Vape stores which we open prior to September 1, 2016 are classed as certified stores allowing displays for all vaping products. Unlike popular belief, although vape products are electronic, these products are classified as a cigarette product, not electronic product, therefore they are not categorised in the same category as electronic products. Other restrictions placed on vape stops in Australia is that people working in stores cannot claim health benefits from the use of vaping products over cigarettes. For health advice on whether or not vaping products may work for you, it is suggested that you consult your health practitioner.
Some may argue that vapes are not cigarettes, but unfortunately, according to all state laws in Australia, vape products are cigarette products. Therefore, there are limitations to rewards point programs and discounting products in store. Vape stores simply cannot offer any incentives that encourage the sales of vape products in store. The concept behind this is, if you cannot get a discount buying a pack (or multiply packs) of cigarettes, then you cannot get discounts buying vape products as well. Vape shops who are found to be not complying with these rules will be subject to fines.
Nicotine in Australia
While in many major countries in the world nicotine is legal, this may come as a big shock to you, but sales of nicotine over the counter is ILLEGAL in Australia. All e-liquid sold in Australia does not contain nicotine.
You may be wondering, why? Why is nicotine illegal in Australia? While there are many conspiracy theories behind why Australia does not allow nicotine, the official reason is, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), nicotine is classified as a schedule 7 dangerous poison and schedule 4 poison which cannot be sold to anyone unless they have a prescription for it and can bare some heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
On the plus side, under the TGA law, nicotine can be imported from overseas up to 3 months worth of supplies for personal use. BUT! You will be breaking local state laws if you possess nicotine without a prescription from your doctor. Please be mindful of that.
Some of you reading this may think, it doesn’t matter, my local tobacco shop sells it under the counter. While some (not all) tobacco shops sell nicotine e-liquid under the counter, we do not recommend getting it from there, mainly because you don’t know where or what is put inside it and may end up being more dangerous for you then doing a little bit more work to attain nicotine the proper way. Be mindful that there are good quality nicotine and poor quality nicotine and your health and safety should go first over easy to get.
For a guide on what and where to buy please visit our blog “Where Can I get Nicotine?”.
Where can I vape? Where can’t I vape?
As mentioned earlier, vaping is smoking, therefore, where “No Smoking” signs are shown, vaping is not permitted in those areas as well. Unless the outdoor area was a dedicated smoking area, smoking and vaping are not allowed. This rule also extended to have minors whilst in the car. Smoking in a confined vehicle while having a minor in the car is a very serious offence in all states of Australia. Other areas to take note of is shopping centre entries and exit, where smoking is not permitted within 5 metres of the doors. Although many will argue while you vape, vapour is being produced and not smoke. The law in Australia specifies otherwise and to avoid serious fines, these practices should really be adhered to. Please be mindful of your surroundings when you vape. A newly introduced law in Australia is vaping indoors. Vaping in any commercial property and indoor public area is prohibited, this includes the vape shops in Australia. The vapour produced from vape products can set off smoke alarms and sprinklers. Setting off these sprinklers in commercial properties are very expensive and can lead to large fines from the fire department.
Testing Vape Products and E-liquids
Trying before you buy vape products (such as devices and e-liquid) is strictly prohibited in all states of Australia. There are many factors that have led to this. Firstly, is the tobacco law in place in Australia. Being that vape products are classified as smoking products. You cannot try a cigarette before you buy it therefore, you cannot try a vape before you buy it. The second reason is hygiene. The action of vaping requires you to place your lips on the mouthpiece of the vape product. While there are disposable mouthpieces available, saliva residue can remain from the last person who tried the device, therefore, this is taken quite seriously. The third reason is according to all state laws in Australia, this is an incentive that stores give to customers to help sell vaping products, and as mentioned earlier, offering incentives to buy cigarette products is illegal.
Who can buy vapes in Australia?
Across Australia, the legal age to buy cigarettes and alcohol is 18 years and over. This also applies to vape products. The term “vape products” refers to vape devices as well as accessories to go with vape devices, such as coils/filter/atomiser, e-liquid, bottles, batteries etc. It is illegal for stores to sell, supply or gift these items to minors. Please note, it is also an offence for an adult to buy these products for minors to use. Vape shops reserve the rights to ask for photo ID from anyone entering and refuse service where it is adequate to do so.
Australia and Vaping
As vaping is still quite new to the world, there is a lot of speculation on this topic. Whether or not it is better or safer for one’s health. There are many studies out right now, where many say it’s bad and many say it better. Considering that Australia is a renowned western civilisation, the Australian government has elected to ignore all studies of vaping and tried to move towards a precautionary approach to vaping, stating that vaping is still too new to see any long term effects. While cigarette prices continue to increase (for the reason to deter people from smoking), the vaping ban seems to be getting worse for Australians. All this is quite questionable.
Similar to smoking, vaping produces vapour that simulates an action of smoking. There are varying views to this action. The positives that many people see is that it doesn’t smell bad, but instead a more pleasant smell compared to smoking that does not linger on clothing. The negative view is that some people do not like the thought of walking through someone else’s vapour that has come from their body. Social etiquette plays a big role in this. Many people are not socially aware of their surroundings or we can go as far as saying some people just don’t care that they’re blowing large amounts of vapour in someone else’s path. As someone who vapes myself, I find it extremely rude to be vaping when there are the elderly, pregnant women and children around or blow vapour up towards someone’s face. Some awareness of this can help change negative attitudes towards vaping and may (ever so slightly, but there’s a chance) change the view on how the government views vaping. The main fear with vaping is that governments are worried that it will encourage the use of vaping among minors and while we agree with the governments concerns, it is also the vape store’s due diligence to check ID and make sure we don’t sell to minors.
Vaping in countries like the UK and America have boomed because of the legalisation of nicotine as a replacement for smoking. As a matter of fact, Public Health England has done studies on the effectiveness of vaping to aid quit smoking and shown that vaping is 95% less harmful compared to smoking and the most effective method to quit smoking and recommends vaping in their health system (The Guardian, 2018), comparable to what we know here as our Medicare system.
Action on smoking and health (ASH) UK, has posted a recent study on vaping and smoking which is quite an interesting read. With reference to tangible and intangible positives and negatives to vaping. Click here to view the ASH UK article.
While many major countries in the world see benefits in vaping over smoking cigarettes, Australia has not embraced what can be said to be a new shift to a less harmful alternative to smoking. With this approach that Australia has taken, strict laws have been applied to vape stores that if not compliant to, bears very serious consequences, but also makes it harder for you, as the consumer, to have a harder time to obtain vape devices and possibly nicotine e-liquid to help aid you to potentially quit smoking cigarettes.
What’s very concerning is the contradictory approach the Australian government has leaned towards. Why is Australia the only country that will not welcome a less harmless option to smoking cigarettes, while there is so much scientific evidence to back up vaping as an alternative to smoking that other western countries have embraced. Is there a hidden agenda? Why are cigarettes so expensive in Australia? This is still a question that the Australian government has yet to properly answer.
If you vape and have found it helpful towards getting you off smoking, you can make a difference. Show you support by signing the petitions at www.legalisevaping.com.au and at www.athra.org.au. Make your voice heard.