Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery operated devices that heat a liquid to produce a vapour that users inhale.1 Electronic cigarettes are also called e-cigs or vapes.
NSW Health has seen an increase in the number of e-cigarettes containing nicotine, or labelled as containing nicotine, being illegally sold by retailers. 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.
Information for tobacco and e-cigarette retailers in NSW is available in English, Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Hindi and Vietnamese.
Retailers need to ensure that e-cigarettes and accessories cannot be seen by the public from inside or outside the premises. Ban on display of tobacco, smoking products and e-cigarettes in retail outlets provides more information about this.
It is illegal to display e-cigarette advertisements. E-cigarette advertisement means writing or any still or moving picture, sign, symbol or other visual image or audible message that gives publicity to or is intended to promote the purchase of an e-cigarette product. It is also illegal to:
Under both NSW and national law, it is illegal to make therapeutic claims about goods if they are not registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This means that it would be illegal to sell or supply e-cigarettes if a label, website, poster or website makes a claim like ‘this product will help you quit smoking’. Verbal statements by salespeople are also included.
The maximum penalty for these offences is up to five years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $440,000. For more information on therapeutic claims, please contact the TGA on 1800 020 653 or visit the
NSW Health continues to undertake compliance and enforcement action regarding the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids that contain liquid nicotine. NSW Health
seizes products containing nicotine and undertakes prosecutions against retailers for the sale of e-liquids that contain nicotine.
Retailers who only sell e-cigarettes and accessories are able to apply for an exemption, so that e-cigarettes may be used within their store. There is an application process and additional conditions will apply. Retailers who also sell tobacco products or other products are not eligible to apply for an exemption.
For more information, refer to
tobacco retailing law.
Also see the
letter to retailers September 2021
Information for Pharmacists - Nicotine Vaping Products