Are Vapes Legal?
Vaping devices are on the rise as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, and as an aid to stopping smoking.
A common question we are often asked is – are vapes legal?
The answer – vaping devices without nicotine are able to be purchased and used legally in NSW.
The purchase and use of nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine (“Nicotine Vapes”) is tightly regulated by several pieces of Commonwealth and NSW law.
The Commonwealth Government treats Nicotine Vapes as a separate class of Poison compared to nicotine products of patches, gum and traditional tobacco cigarettes. This is partly due to the lack of assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of their quality, safety or performance as an aid to quitting smoking.
CAN I BUY VAPES?
The law maintains two separate processes for the purchase and importation of Nicotine Vapes.
A person requires a valid prescription to purchase Nicotine Vapes within NSW.
The first step is a consultation with an authorised medical practitioner. The doctor may provide you with a prescription under either the Authorised Prescriber Scheme or the Special Access Scheme.
When filling the script, the pharmacist must provide Nicotine Vapes that meet the new Nicotine Standard TGO 110. The new Standard requires:
- Child resistant packaging
- The nicotine content must be within 10% of the stated amount
- Labels must be in English, legible, visible and durable
From 1 October 2021, NSW law requires a person to have a valid prescription to legally import Nicotine Vapes. Any Australian doctor can provide a prescription under the Personal Importation Scheme, as opposed to the requirement of an Authorised Prescriber above.
Limitations of importing:
- Maximum limit of 3 months supply at one time
- Maximum limit of 15 months supply within a 12 month period.
Without a lawful prescription, it is an offence to obtain Nicotine Vapes under NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulations 2008, with a maximum penalty of $1,100.00.
CAN I SELL VAPES?
Contrary to common opinion, local supermarkets, convenience stores and tobacconists are unable to sell Nicotine Vapes. These entities are able to sell vaping devices without nicotine.
The only persons able to supply Nicotine Vapes are pharmacists and only to persons with a valid prescription from an authorised Australian doctor. NSW Health inspectors have the power to enter and search premises to confirm whether Nicotine Vapes are being illegally supplied.
It is an offence under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulations 2008 to supply Nicotine Vapes with a maximum penalty of $1,100.00.
At Morrisons we are specialist criminal and traffic lawyers based in Wollongong and the Southern Highlands. If you require advice or representation, you can book an appointment with one of our expert criminal lawyers.