Buying Guides

Author: State & Territory Health   Date Posted:21 March 2017 


Electronic cigarettes can also be called e-cigarettes, e-cigars, vape pens or a personal vapours.

They are not approved as an aid to quit smoking in Australia and are not listed under the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

From 1 January 2015 electronic cigarettes cannot be used in existing non-smoking indoor and outdoor areas, sold to children under 18 years of age, or advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets. Electronic cigarettes Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, vape pens or personal vapourisers. They heat liquid, which usually contains nicotine, into a fine vapour for inhalation into the lungs. Products vary widely in design and operation, but typically consist of a battery, heating element, and a cartridge or refillable tank containing substances such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, liquid nicotine and flavourings.


New laws from 1 January 2015 The Queensland Parliament has amended the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 (Tobacco Act) to capture electronic cigarettes as smoking products.

Electronic cigarettes will now be subject to the same laws as regular cigarettes, from 1 January 2015. This will mean that devices commonly known as electronic cigarettes cannot be: used in existing no-smoking indoor and outdoor places sold to children under 18 years of age advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets.

Liquid nicotine is illegal Electronic cigarettes containing liquid nicotine are illegal in Queensland. It is an offence under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (PDF, 1 MB)(HDPR), for a person to manufacture, obtain, possess, prescribe, dispense, sell, advertise, use or destroy nicotine, unless the person is specifically authorised or holds an approval under the HDPR.

The maximum penalty is $9,108.

Electronic cigarette containing liquid nicotine can be safely disposed of at a community pharmacy or a local public health unit.


In Victoria, it is not illegal to sell non-nicotine electronic cigarettes. However, new laws were passed regarding electronic cigarettes on 13 October 2016. These laws include the following: a ban on the sale of all electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18; a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in all legislasted smokefree areas; and restrictions on advertising and promotion of electronic cigarette products.

The new laws apply from 1 August 2017. For further information about Victoria's electronic cigarette laws, see the Victorian Department of Health website on Tobacco Reforms.

For more information on electronic cigarettes generally, visit the Victorian Department of Health and the Therapeutic Goods Administration websites.

For more information on controls on importation of electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine, see the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s statement.


• Possession of e-cigarettes (containing nicotine or otherwise) is not illegal • In Australia nicotine is considered a dangerous poison and cannot be legally sold or imported without an appropriate licence.

• In Australia nicotine e-liquid or cartridges are not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use as cessation aids (unlike traditional nicotine replacement therapy products such as patches or gum), therefore it is illegal to sell or promote as such here.

• If the delivery device resembles a tobacco product, it is illegal to sell in South Australia.


Electronic cigarettes (also called e-cigarettes, e-cigs, personal vaporisers or PVs) are battery-powered devices which heat a cartridge containing nicotine, flavouring and other chemicals into a mist. The mist is inhaled through a mouthpiece and then exhaled by the user as a visible vapour.

E-cigarettes typically mimic traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars or pipes in appearance, but are increasingly available in other styles. Cartridges which do not contain nicotine are also available.

Sales of e-cigarettes containing nicotine are not legal anywhere in Australia. Nicotine is a dangerous poison, even in small quantities, and it is strictly regulated in WA under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014 (external site). Products that resemble tobacco products, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or not, cannot be sold in WA and it is an offence under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 (external site) to sell such products

. In a Supreme Court of WA decision of 2014, electronic cigarettes were found to resemble a tobacco product. This decision was unanimously upheld by the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of WA in March 2016.


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that do not burn tobacco, but use vapour. It is against the law to use vapour that contains nicotine.

The Northern Territory (NT) Government is considering regulations about electronic cigarettes. You can use e-cigarettes anywhere in the NT, unless there are signs saying you can't use them.


In the ACT, from 1 August 2016 personal vaporisers, including electronic cigarettes will be regulated in much the same way as tobacco.

It is illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18 and to use electronic cigarettes in legislated smoke-free areas in the ACT. Restrictions also apply to advertising, displays and marketing.

These measures are designed to prevent the uptake of electronic cigarettes by non-smokers, including children and young people, and to protect non-users from exposure to electronic cigarette vapour. The measures follow community consultation in late 2014, which sought community views on options to address the sale and use of electronic cigarettes in the ACT.

For further information on the community consultation, please visit the electronic cigarettes community consultation webpage. For more information about electronic cigarettes, please contact the Health Protection Service via email or call on (02) 6205 1700.


An e-cigarette replicates smoking behaviour without the use of tobacco. It is a battery-operated device designed to heat a liquid (known as e-liquid or e-juice) to produce a vapour that users inhale.

The liquid generally contains a base solution of propylene glycol and glycerine. Ingredients typically added to this solution include flavouring and a range of chemicals. They may or may not contain nicotine. E-cigarettes that contain nicotine are called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

It is illegal to sell, buy or use e-cigarette cartridges containing nicotine in Tasmania. Most devices contain an electronic vaporisation system, a battery and a liquid cartridge. Some look like conventional cigarettes while others appear more like an electronic device or resemble everyday items such as lipsticks and pens.

They can be disposable, re-chargeable and/or refillable. At the moment there are no restrictions on the availability and use of nicotine-free electronic cigarettes in Tasmania.