In late February, the Australian senate passed a motion with broad support across all parties, expressing the collective opinion that the Australian government should move to ban all imports of liquid nicotine products including e-liquid. 

Nothing is changing about Australia’s laws for importing e-liquid yet. If you currently import your e-liquid into Australia and follow all applicable laws regarding the importation of therapeutic goods, you have nothing to worry about for the time being. You can continue buying nicotine as you always have. You don’t need to start building an emergency stock of e-liquid, and if that day comes, you’ll have plenty of notice.

The motion isn’t a new law, and it isn’t a proposal for a new law. It’s simply a resolution stating that, within the Australian senate, there is broad support for a new law.

The motion makes one thing very clear: The Australian government does not support vaping and would seemingly prefer that its citizens smoke. What could possibly lead intelligent people to come to that conclusion, and what can you do about it? Let’s find out what’s going on.

What’s Changing About Buying E-Liquid in Australia?

At this time, nothing is changing about buying vape juice in Australia. However, members of the Australian government have expressed that abuse of the Therapeutic Goods Personal Importation Scheme – which allows the importation of nicotine e-liquid with a prescription – is rampant. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, few Australians actually go through the trouble of obtaining prescriptions before buying e-liquid abroad and having it shipped to Australia.

Why Is the Australian Government Cracking Down on Vaping?

With an overwhelming body of scientific research supporting the notion that switching to vaping is less harmful than continuing to smoke, it’s difficult to say why vaping has so little support among Australian politicians. There can be no doubt about the lack of support, though, when people such as Australian federal health minister Greg Hunt release statements saying that the government “opposes vaping or any liberalisation on laws.” 

Hunt has gone on record stating that the Australian government must crack down on unauthorized nicotine imports. 

Stirling Griff of the Centre Alliance party introduced the motion recommending a ban on nicotine imports. Griff cited the U.S. vaping lung illness – caused by the use of THC vaping products containing Vitamin E and other oils – as one of the reasons for the motion, calling the illness “very concerning” and saying “you just don’t know what’s in [e-liquid].”

Griff’s thought process on nicotine e-liquid, however, is incorrect on several levels.

  • The U.S. vaping lung illness is caused by THC vaping products, which have nothing in common with nicotine e-liquid.

  • People who import nicotine e-liquid into Australia are generally buying e-liquid originating from the United States, the United Kingdom or New Zealand – three nations in which the e-liquid industry is tightly regulated. The ingredients of the products are definitely known.

  • Australia could easily eliminate the problem of unauthorised nicotine imports by legalising nicotine e-liquid domestically and instituting common-sense regulations for the vaping market. 

What Can You Do to Stop the Ban on E-Liquid Imports?

If you oppose a ban on e-liquid imports in Australia, the most important thing that you can do is write, call or meet with your elected representatives and tell them so. Explain that you are a living example of vaping’s effectiveness in helping people quit smoking. Say that driving Australia’s 300,000 vapers back to cigarettes is the last thing the Australian healthcare system wants. If you are a single-issue voter who would vote against anyone who wants to take away your right to vape, say so.

Legalise Vaping Australia has a handy form that can dispatch a letter to your MP automatically.

What Should You Do if You Rely on Imported E-Liquid?

It is important to mention once again that if you rely on imported e-liquid, you do not need to change anything about what you’re doing at this time as long as you’re importing your vape juice in accordance with the law. Remember that, if you’re going to import e-liquid with nicotine, Australian law does require you to have a prescription. The Australian government is evidently aware that many people import e-liquid without prescriptions, and you’d better prepare yourself for the possibility that customs agents and postal inspectors may begin asking you to present your prescription when you pick up your e-liquid shipments.