Electronic cigarettes in Western Australia

Electronic cigarettes (or electronic cigarettes – also called “vapes”) are batteries-powered devices. They can heat liquids containing flavors and chemicals into an aerosol inhaled through a mouthpiece and exhaled by the person who uses it.

The liquid is usually called “e-liquid,” “e-juice,” or ‘vape juice.’ It is designed to provide chemicals directly to the lungs.

The devices are available in various sizes and shapes, and some resemble traditional cigars, tobacco cigarettes, or pipes in design. Some look similar to everyday items such as highlighters, pens, and USB storage sticks.

What exactly is an e-cigarette?

E-cigarettes could include flavors, water, and nicotine. They also contain solvents. Chemicals that are present in e-cigarettes E-liquids, as well as the airborne smoke “vapour” that they generate, contain very tiny particles of heavy metals like nickel, tin, and even lead and volatile organic compounds like the benzene that is found in car exhaust Poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as naphthalene which is that is found in mothballs. They are all considered harmful and include chemicals that could cause cancer.

Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive and toxic chemical found in tobacco. Although the packaging of an e-cigarette may claim that it is nicotine-free, tests have shown that the majority of e-cigarettes sold in Australia are mislabeled and contain nicotine.

E-liquids come in thousands of flavors, like fruits, tobacco, confectionery, etc.

Sale of e-cigarettes

Tobacco Products Control Act 2006

The law in Western Australia states that a person cannot offer a product that looks like cigarettes. The Department of Health believes e-cigarettes, their components, and the extent to which (in cases of the components) the components are offered as a separate item or not are products intended to be similar to tobacco products. Anyone who sells e-cigarettes, vaping products, and their components could be held accountable for violating the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 (external website).

E-cigarettes and their components may contain (but they aren’t restricted to) any of the following:

  • E-cigarettes that are refillable or sold as kits.
  • The components of electronic cigarettes are available separately, like tanks, pods, mods coils, and integrated batteries.
  • E-cigarettes are pre-filled with E-liquid (either nicotine or without).
  • E-liquid and E-juice to use in e-cigarette devices (with and sans nicotine).

The penalty for a violation of the applicable provisions of the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 in the case of a first offense by an individual can be an amount of up to $10,000, and for a single violation by a business can reach up to 40 000. The maximum penalties can be increased for a subsequent or subsequent offense.

Medicines and Poisons Act 2014

Nicotine is a deadly poison, even in small amounts. Western Australia strictly controls its legal manufacture supply, possession, and distribution within WA under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014 (external website).

It is a criminal offense for anyone to create, sell, prescribe, or possess a substance with nicotine that is not accompanied by a valid license or medical authority or prescription or prescription, as the case may be. The penalty for any violation of the applicable provisions of the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014 is a maximum fine of $45,000. An authorized medical professional orders nicotine vaping products only available by a registered pharmacist. A registered pharmacy can purchase an e-cigarette specifically designed for the delivery of nicotine for use with prescription nicotine products as a part of a medically-supervised smoking quitting program.

If you suspect someone is selling e-cigarettes or nicotine vaping products, you can report it to the Department of Health by emailing TobaccoPolicy@health.wa.gov.au.

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) information

Australian TGA (external website) announced changes to take effect from October 1, 2021. The changes will affect the laws governing the import of nicotine-based products (including nicotine electronic cigarettes, nicotine pods, and nicotine liquids) which have not been authorized to be used in Australia.

Electronic cigarettes within public spaces

E-cigarettes are relatively recent products, and the long-term health and safety consequences of their usage and exposure to secondhand vapor remain unexplored.

E-cigarettes are a source of controversy in public spaces because of the chaos and confusion they could cause in areas where smoking cigarettes is prohibited.

Managers and owners may decide to establish a policy that applies to their premises, which bans smoking electronic cigarettes in areas where smoking is forbidden.

A possible form of the policy could be:

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other vaporizers for personal use to deliver nicotine and other substances aren’t allowed to be used where smoking is prohibited.

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