vaping laws in nsw

What are the Vaping Laws in Australia? ​

vaping laws in nsw

What are the Vaping laws in Australia?

Do you vape? 

If so, you need to know about the changes in the law around vaping and e-cigarettes in Australia. 

Today, we take a closer look at the recent changes to vaping laws in Australia. 

In recent times, our government changed the vaping laws in Australia. Firstly, the Australian government became more strict about where you can vape. Also, laws around the importation of disposable and non-therapeutic vapes have been prohibited. 

What are e-cigarettes and vapes?

Basically, e-cigarettes and vapes are gadgets with batteries that warm up a liquid. This is called e-liquid. Vapes then make a mist that you breathe in. 

Vapes can vary in how they look. Some look like pens, USB sticks, or highlighters. The mist they produce doesn’t usually smell strong. However, it might have a sweet scent and flavour. Due to the nice smell and taste, compared to traditional cigarettes, vaping is popular among first-time nicotine users. 

Vaping is becoming more popular among Australians 

Vaping is indeed becoming more common in Australia, especially among 16-24 year olds. Additionally, the regular use has doubled from 4.5% to 11% recently. In NSW, vaping is highest among this age group. 

  • 32% tried it at least once and,
  • 11% used it daily/occasionally.

A study by Cancer Council NSW found that one-third of teenagers in NSW have vaped. Plus, it’s easy for them to get vapes illegally through friends, retail stores, online shops, and social media.

E-cigarettes and vapes are addicting young people to nicotine. This increases the risk of them starting to smoke. Many vapes contain nicotine, even if not labeled. Also, these products expose vapers to more than 100 harmful chemicals also found in weed killer and nail polish.

Research shows that vaping is harmful and linked to an increased chance of young people taking up smoking. The health impacts include poisoning, seizures, burns, and lung disease.

Do the rules about smoke-free places apply to using e-cigarettes and vaping?

According to the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000, using e-cigarettes and vapes is not allowed in areas where smoking is banned. For example, enclosed public places and certain outdoor public areas. See more below. 

Health inspectors from NSW regularly check if people are following these rules. 

South Australia cracks down on vaping laws 

South Australia has also introduced a “smoke-free and vape-free” programme. The new regulations have sparked a debate. 

Vaping is often described as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, this logic has come under scrutiny. The Australian Drug Foundation said vaping is risky. Furthermore, they are researching vaping to fully understand its long-term effects. 

A main driving force behind the recent changes in South Australia is the desire to create smoke-free spaces. The Adelaide Now article highlights the importance of understanding the implications of these changes. Smoke-free areas help protect the public from the harmful effects of both traditional smoking and vaping. 

Vape-free South Australia 

However, the push for a vape-free South Australia doesn’t mean a blanket ban on vaping. Instead, the focus is on regulating the use of these products in specific areas. If you do vape in one of these areas in South Australia, you can receive a fine. For example, an on-the-spot fine of $105 and prosecution up to $750 for people vaping in a vape-free zone. 

The new regulations also come at a time when there’s a growing concern about the increasing popularity of vaping among young people. The Australian Drug Foundation highlights that we need ways to prevent vaping becoming normal for teenagers. Stricter laws can help limit the visibility and accessibility of vaping products.

Vaping in public spaces 

You can’t vape in outdoor dining areas, public transport stops, and in playgrounds. By creating these vape-free spaces, authorities want to strike a balance between individual choices and public health. 

The debate around vaping often asks if it actually helps you stop smoking. Some argue that it can serve as a useful aid. However, others worry over the lack of solid evidence for this. 

The banning of single use vapes 

As of January, 2024, the importation of disposable vapes became illegal. Therefore, regardless of their nicotine quantity, shops will not be able to sell disposable vapes. Additionally, consumers will not be able to order vapes from overseas. Some exceptions to this rule will apply. For example, travellers arriving to Australia with small quantities of vapes. 

However, as of March 2024, the government is banning the importation of all non-therapeutic vapes into Australia. These new laws hope to help prevent nicotine use. However, it is important to note that these new vaping laws will not criminalise vapers. Basically, the Australian government is not going to criminalise personal possession and the use of vapes. These laws are going to focus on retailers and the importation of vapes. 

Changes to the laws around vaping in Australia 

Designated smoke-free zones in NSW include: 

  • Enclosed public spaces
  • Outdoor public spaces, including: 

a. Within a 10-meters of  children’s play outdoor playground, 

b. Public swimming pools,

c. Spectator areas at sports grounds, 

d. Public transport stops and platforms,

e. Within 4 meters of a pedestrian access point to a public building,

f. Commercial outdoor dining areas,

g. Inside a vehicle with a child under 16 years of age present.

Important: Not smoking outside a public building is important to note. This is because many people leave a bar or nightclub to go outside to vape. Now, they need to be 4 metres from the access point. 

Selling vapes laws in NSW

Without approval from the NSW Ministry of Health, it’s against the law to sell or use e-cigarettes and e-liquids with nicotine. Several regulations also apply in NSW. These include:

  • a ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors under 18, 
  • advertising and in-store promotions for e-cigarettes, 
  • using e-cigarettes in cars with minors under 16, 
  • requiring businesses selling e-cigarettes to register with the NSW Ministry of Health,
  • additionally, using e-cigarettes in areas where smoking tobacco is prohibited.

In summary, smoking normal cigarettes is also not allowed in: 

  • workplaces,
  • public transport,
  • restaurants,
  • and near children’s play areas. 

Understanding vaping laws in Australia 

It is very important to know about the vaping laws in Australia. For residents and visitors alike, understanding the designated vape-free zones is essential to avoid breaking the law.

As our understanding of vaping continues to evolve, so do the vaping laws in Australia. By striking a balance between individual choices and public health concerns, Australia wants to keep as many people as possible safe and healthy. 

If police have fined you for a vaping offence, contact our lawyers today.

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Nicole Byrne

Content Creator | Media Coordinator
O'Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors

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O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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