Smokers beware, switching to electronic cigarettes or “vaping” as it is commonly known in NSW can make you a criminal, sort of!
Despite electronic cigarettes containing 95% fewer chemicals than their traditional counterparts, did you know they are technically illegal in our great nanny state of New South Wales? However don’t panic just yet as there are a number of loopholes along with strong support for their legalisation. Furthermore, go across to border to Victoria or Western Australia and the air around their use is rather cloudy!
The problem authorise find with making vaping legal is a) the nicotine factor b) lack of solid research and c) authorities not wanting to re-normalise smoking.
Politics aside, here is what the law currently says in NSW in regards to the use of E-cigarettes:
- Their use is not against the law as such (whether they contain nicotine or not) even in places where smoking is banned as they are technically not cigarettes. A State Parliament Member recently vaped during parliament to highlight this! Despite outrage from his fellow members, it wasn’t illegal. However, before you start smoking on a plane or in a hospital, places are free to implement rules banning their use.
- The sale of liquid nicotine is currently illegal with no authorised sellers in NSW so seller beware- fines are hefty.
- It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories to people under the age of 18 with prosecution and fines up to $10,000, the same as cigarette laws.
- The Police in NSW have powers to seize an e-cigarette that is in possession of a person under age 18.
- It is illegal to use an e-cigarette in a car with a person aged under 16.
Whilst the UK, New Zealand and a growing number of countries have legalised and strongly support e-cigarettes and their use, the laws in NSW surrounding their use read more like someone has been smoking more than they tobacco they omit!
By Jeremy Maspero