Australia is one a very few countries in the world that does not allow the sale of e cigs with nicotine in them. The good news is that with the explosion of internet sales from overseas, delivery times are faster than they have ever been. With the Australian dollar being on par with the U.S. prices are at their most competitive. You can buy, have delivered and enjoy an e cig within a few days of order for so much less than a tobacco cigarette. Please be aware that the other e cigarette websites you see based in Australia or the e cigs you see for sale in Australian shops do NOT contain nicotine. Safe Smoke Australia is not able to provide legal advice to visitors, and we strongly recommend you conduct your own research if you are unsure of the regulations in your home state. We have, however, undertaken research for our own benefit and we are happy to share our findings with you below regarding Australian regulations related to e cigs that contain nicotine.
Currently, Australian federal laws prohibit the sale of nicotine based cigarettes over the counter. E cigs purchased in shops do not contain nicotine. Although retail sale is illegal, federally, consumers can purchase nicotine based e cigs for their own personal use from international online sources, under the Therapeutic Goods Personal Importation Scheme – which allows for up to 3 months supply per delivery, and no more than 15 months supply imported over a 12 month period. State laws governing the purchase of e cigs with nicotine from international sources can vary and we recommend checking with local regulators for state based rulings. Most states, however, don’t appear to have any additional restrictions at the time of writing. In addition, as with all international purchases, all online orders from overseas suppliers remain GST free if under the $1000 purchase threshold.
The follow extract is from the Australian Customs Service regarding personal importation of e cigs in Australia:
Can I import electronic cigarettes into Australia?
E-Cigarettes are comprised of an atomiser, battery and cartridge that may or may not contain a mixture of liquid nicotine and propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. These forms of glycol are commonly used in pharmaceutical formulations and are not controlled. Liquid nicotine, is scheduled as a ‘Schedule 7 Poison’ under the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP). The listing of a poison in Schedule 7 does not usually justify an import prohibition. The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) is responsible for the government policy on such issues and advised that all States and Territories have domestic controls on the sale of these products and they are prohibited for commercial purposes.
E-cigarettes (and/or their components) are not prohibited imports under Customs law. However, they may be subject to control under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 if the packaging makes a claim about any form of therapeutic benefit. If E-Cigarettes are detected at the border appearing to make a therapeutic claim, the goods may be referred to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA will advise whether further action is warranted, whether any claims made are classed as therapeutic, and whether seizure is appropriate under their Act. If no therapeutic claim is made, or the TGA determines that no action is warranted, the goods are released, as they are not controlled on importation.
The onus is on the purchaser of goods from offshore websites to ensure that any goods they purchase are legal to import and possess under Commonwealth and State and Territory laws. Goods of this nature are not tobacco or tobacco products, and therefore are not subject to duty or GST if the Customs value is at or below the low value goods threshold of A$1,000. Special mention is needed to highlight that e cigarettes are not subject to Australian Tobacco laws because they do not contain tobacco.
Safe Smoke Australia advises that all Australian residents check their local state legislation regarding the importation of electronic cigarettes in their state of residence, as these laws may
vary from federal legislation. The information provided by Safe Smoke Australia cannot be considered as binding legal advice.
Safe Smoke Australia recommends checking with public institutions for individual guidelines about smoking (vaping) e cigarettes in public places as endorsement of such activities may vary from venue to venue.