Australia has unique nicotine vaping laws that you need to be aware of if you are considering using e-cigarettes or vapes as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. There are an estimated 500,000 vapers in Australia, many of whom are unaware of these laws.
While in most countries nicotine e-cigarettes are regulated as consumer products, in Australia nicotine vapes are regulated as medicines. Because of this, it is illegal to buy, possess, or vape nicotine without a prescription from an Australian medical practitioner.
If you’re currently vaping nicotine, you need to be aware that from 1 October 2021 you will no longer be able to legally purchase these products without first getting a prescription from an Australian doctor. The main reason a doctor may prescribe nicotine for vaping would be to help a patient quit smoking. Typically doctors will only consider prescribing for smokers or ex-smokers over the age of 18 who have otherwise not been able to quit using more conventional methods such as cold-turkey, nicotine gum, patches, or prescription medication.
Once you have a prescription, you can legally purchase nicotine from a registered Australian pharmacy, or a supplier located overseas. Anyone selling nicotine vaping liquid in Australia, other than a pharmacy, is doing so illegally and risking huge fines, or even prison time. You can legally purchase from an overseas supplier, however, you must ensure that the supplier includes a copy of your prescription in your shipment, or it may be seized by customs should they choose to inspect your shipment.