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Vaping ban for retailers

New legislation regulating the importation, domestic manufacture, supply, commercial possession and advertising of all vaping goods is now in place, including significant changes to retail businesses. 

Reforms to the regulation of vaping goods

From 1 July 2024, non-pharmacy retailers such as tobacconists, vape shops or convenience stores must not stock or sell any type of vape. Generally, patients will now only be able to access therapeutic vaping goods at pharmacy retailers.

What vaping goods are regulated under the reforms?

All vaping goods, regardless of whether they contain nicotine are now regulated under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth). This includes:

  • Vaping devices which are devices that generate or release, using a heating element, an aerosol, vapour or mist for direct inhalation
  • Vaping accessories which include cartridges, capsules, pods or other vessels that are for use with a vaping device, including a container or part of a container which contains these liquids or substances
  • Vaping substances which include nicotine in solution, any liquid or other substance for use with a vaping device, or a container (that is not a vaping accessory or vaping device) that contains nicotine in solution or any other liquid that is for use in or with a vaping device. 

What does this mean for non-pharmacy retailers who were previously supplying vaping goods?

The reforms prohibit non-pharmacy retailers from supplying or possessing any type of vaping good, subject to limited exceptions. These exceptions include if you are the holder of a licence, consent or other authority from a state or territory government, or the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The reforms also prohibit the advertising of vaping goods, except if authorised by the TGA. Shop signage, posters and even business names may be considered advertising. Advertising includes promotion of not only the supply of goods but the use of them, e.g. through social media posts. 

How to report non-compliance

To make reports of non-compliance in relation to the sale of vapes (e-cigarette products), can be referred to the TGA website here.

What are the penalties for possessing or supplying vaping goods outside the lawful supply chain?

The supply and possession of vaping goods outside the lawful pathways will contravene the Act, which may lead to enforcement action including seizure and forfeiture of the goods, infringement notices, and/or court proceedings. The maximum civil penalty for each contravention is $21,910,000 for a corporation. The maximum criminal penalties per contravention are $1,565,000 or 7 years’ imprisonment, or both.

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