​E-cigarettes containing nicotine can only be supplied by pharmacies with a valid prescription

From 1 October 2021 e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine are a prescription only medicine. This means pharmacists in community pharmacies can supply e-liquids and e-cigarettes (containing nicotine) to their customers (18 years and over) only if they have a valid prescription from a doctor. For retailers other than pharmacies it will continue to be illegal to sell e-liquids and e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. This includes online sales.

Information for tobacco and e-cigarette retailers in NSW is available in English, Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Hindi and Vietnamese.

Fines for supplying nicotine

NSW Health inspectors visit tobacco retailers and vaping stores to check if products containing liquid nicotine are being sold.

NSW Health can prosecute retailers for selling e-cigarette and e-liquid products that contain nicotine. From 1 October 2021 penalties increased. The maximum penalty is $1,650 or 6 months prison, or both. 

Illegal nicotine e-cigarettes seized

NSW Health has seen an increase in the number of e-cigarettes containing nicotine, or labelled as containing nicotine, being sold by retailers. This includes disposable devices, with brands such as HQD Cuvies, Stig, Jeemo, Puff Bar, and Myle. Other types of e-cigarettes include pod devices, such as JUUL.

From January 2020 to end March 2021, most of the products were found and seized at tobacconists (71%), convenience stores or petrol/service stations (24%), with small amounts of products seized from grocery shops. 

The table below shows the quarterly data for seizures of e-cigarette and e-liquid products containing nicotine or labelled as containing nicotine by NSW Health officers.

QuarterNumber of products seized
1 January – 31 March 202124,067
1 October – 31 December 202018,900
1 July – 30 September 20206,554
1 April – 30 June 20201,801
1 January – 31 March 20202,866


Prosecutions for illegal sales of nicotine containing e-cigarettes

The table below lists the prosecutions for illegal sale of nicotine containing e-cigarettes and nicotine containing e-liquids, following investigation and seizures by Authorised Officers in NSW Health. It shows the number of successful prosecutions in each quarter.

Quarter Number of successful prosecutionsLocal health districts business located in
1 January – 31 March 20214
  • Northern Sydney
  • South Eastern Sydney
  • Sydney
1 October – 31 December 20201
  • South Eastern Sydney
1 July – 30 September 20204
  • Sydney
  • Northern Sydney
1 April – 30 June 20200 
1 January - March 20203
  • Nepean Blue Mountains
  • North Sydney
  • Hunter New England


Reporting illegal sales

If you think someone is selling e-cigarettes that contain nicotine (other than pharmacies), please report it to NSW Health by completing the online reporting form or call the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412. 

For further information or for any other complaints, please call the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412.

Non-English speaking people can contact the Tobacco Information Line via the translating and interpreting service (TIS) on 13 1450 to report breaches to the smoking bans and tobacco retailing laws.

Current as at: Wednesday 29 September 2021
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health