Getting started with vaping can be quite confusing. For many, it seems like a complicated activity that requires a whole lot of knowledge and equipment to get started with. The truth is, it isn’t. When you’re living in Australia, though, there is something else that can throw a spanner in the works—misinformation surrounding Australia’s vaping laws.
Whilst the country is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to vaping, it is not federally illegal like many people believe. Yes, there have been clampdowns on vaping by regulators and it is not possible to purchase certain vaping products within the country’s borders, but you are still allowed to do it.
Here’s the current situation and how you can buy vapes in Australia, and other vaping products.
Vaping Laws in Australia
Under Australian law, nicotine is scheduled as a dangerous poison (sch. 7). This means that the sale of it is illegal for non-medical reasons, and this covers e-liquids. Smoking is an exception to this but, as you may well know, and cigarettes are heavily regulated.
There is a way around this, though.
If you want to buy nicotine vape juices in Australia for purely therapeutic reasons (e.g. for the enjoyment factor rather than to quit smoking) you must order from a retailer outside the country and have your package shipped in.
A slight asterisk to this is that Australia is currently developing its e-cig regulations. The sale of e-cigs is controlled by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and importing e-cigs and related products is illegal unless approved by the TGA. The TGA has gone on record to say that there are no laws preventing importation for personal use unless state laws say otherwise—these vary and can be conflicting.
Of course, the information we’ve provided here is subject to change without our awareness. As a result, we recommend contacting any relevant government agencies if you have any questions about the legalities of vaping in your area.
So, Are Vapes Allowed in Australia or Not?
Right now, the general consensus is that vapes, and vape-related products, can be imported for personal use and used in Australia.
This, of course, is subject to change.
How to Get Vaping Products in Australia
Even if you are living in a state that heavily regulates e-cigs, you can still buy nicotine e-liquids, e-cigs, and other vaping products freely and easily.
You can do this by purchasing from a supplier that is based outside Australia’s borders and only buy a three months’ supply or less. It really is that straightforward. There are no hoops to jump through and you are not breaking the law.
It is worth noting that the total product value must be under $1,000 AUD. This is the original undiscounted total. So, if you bought $1,200 worth of product but had $250 taken off as a promotion and only paid $950, Australian customs would still see the package’s value as $1,200.
Packages with a value of $1,000 won’t be destroyed, sent back, or anything of that nature, you will just need to pay an additional customs fee.
Remember, though, that you can only import up to a three months’ supply, otherwise, your package may be seized by customs—don’t chance it!
Why is the Sale of Vape Juice Banned?
Because it contains nicotine, a substance that is treated as a Schedule 7 poison under Australian law.
Vape juices come with all kinds of variation. Overall ingredients, flavour, and nicotine strength are all examples of how one vape juice can be different from another. Generally speaking, they come in the following nicotine concentrations:
But some brands offer concentrations as high as 30mg/mL, 36mg/mL, and sometimes higher.
With the introduction of nicotine salts, another form of nicotine that is quite different from the freebase nicotine that’s often used in e-liquids, nicotine concentrations can get even higher, stretching all the way up to around 50ml/mg.
Under Australian law, even the local sale of vape juice with the super-low, largely insignificant concentration of 3mg/mL of nicotine is banned.
Why Do Vape Juices Have Different Nicotine Concentrations?
To cater to the needs of different individuals.
Some people, for example, choose to vape to quit smoking. These people may have smoked a pack a day for years and have grown accustomed to having a lot of nicotine coursing through their veins all day, every day. These people would use vape juice with a high nicotine concentration to give them the same ‘kick’ and cravings satisfaction as smoking does, but without the harm that comes with huffing toxic smoke.
Others may only be light smokers but still need help quitting. They would opt for a vape juice with a lower nicotine level that matches their habit.
Over time, as cravings subside and ex-smokers lose the urge to use cigarettes, they can ‘tone down’ their nicotine intake by reducing their vape juice nicotine concentration in stages.
In fact, you can even get vape juice that has a concentration of 0mg/ml. This is known as nicotine-free vape juice and is primarily used by vapers who have quit nicotine but continue to vape and never-smokers who vape for the fun and enjoyment but don’t want or need the nicotine.
Is Nicotine (and Nicotine Vape Juice) Harmful?
Maybe, but perhaps not in the very small doses that are delivered through smoking and vaping. People often get mixed up and think that it is the nicotine that causes all of the harm to smokers when in fact it is believed to be primarily the toxins, tar, and thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke that are to blame.
One group that may be harmed by nicotine through smoking and vaping are those with heart problems—nicotine has been linked to increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
That’s it, at least as far as we’re aware.
That is why many people look at Australia’s laws on nicotine and its classification as a poison with relative bewilderment.
This information should not be misconstrued as medical advice. Please consult a licensed physician if you are seeking medical advice.
Ready to Buy Vaping Products in Australia
If you are ready to buy vaping products and you live in Australia, we recommend you take a look at our review of Australia’s best online vape store. There’s one store in particular that we highly recommend and it has been business since 2012. That store is Vaper Empire. They make their own vaping hardware and e-juice, which is considered to be premium-grade by many vapers who have had the luxury of using their products. They have an Australia-based customer service team so if you have any questions then you know who to call.