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Importation of e-cigarettes containing nicotine (and nicotine-containing liquids for use in e-cigarettes)

25 October 2019

You can legally import nicotine-containing e-cigarettes (or nicotine-containing liquids for use in e-cigarettes) ('the goods') for personal use, under limited circumstances, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Personal Importation Scheme. Personal importation is when you arrange from within Australia for a therapeutic good to be sent to you from an overseas supplier, family member or friend.

The requirements and conditions are:

  • For the goods to be imported under the Personal Importation Scheme, they must be for smoking cessation purposes and you must have a current valid prescription from an Australian-registered medical practitioner.
  • The goods are to be used by yourself only. You can arrange to import the goods for an immediate family member, but that family member must hold a current valid prescription from an Australian-registered medical practitioner.

    The goods are not permitted to be sold or supplied (even free of charge) to any other person.

You should also be aware there are some additional limitations to importing e-cigarettes:

  • Under state and territory law, nicotine (whether or not it is for use as part of an electronic cigarette) is a Scheduled poison.
  • Any product or substance that is a therapeutic good and imported under the Personal Importation Scheme must also be legal within your own state or territory. You should therefore check whether nicotine can be possessed or supplied in your own state or territory.

The commercial supply of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes is prohibited by the drugs, poisons and controlled substances legislation in all states and territories. Seven state and territories[1] have amended their tobacco control laws to treat the advertising and sale of e-cigarettes in a similar manner as conventional tobacco products in their respective jurisdictions. These jurisdictions have also prohibited the use of e-cigarettes in legislated smoke-free areas.

In Western Australia (WA), it is an offence under the WA Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 to sell products that resemble tobacco products, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or not.[2] In a Supreme Court of Western Australia decision, e-cigarettes were found to resemble a tobacco product.

You should also be aware of the statement from the Chief Medical Officer and state and territory Chief Health Officers about e-cigarettes generally and an emerging link between their use and lung disease. As at 11 September 2019, at least six fatalities in the United States have been linked with the use of e-cigarettes.

More information

Note: updated on 25 October 2019 to include additional limitations

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