New laws for electronic cigarettes, smoke-free areas and tobacco licensing

New laws for electronic cigarettes, smoke-free areas and tobacco licensing

Print version

This fact sheet describes new laws in the Public Health Act 1997 starting on 29 November 2017.

The new laws:

  • treat personal vaporiser products (including e-cigarettes) similarly to tobacco products
  • increase penalties for supplying these products to a person under 18 years
  • introduce ‘fit and proper’ checks for licence applicants
  • set reporting requirements for licence-holders.

The new laws affect people who:

  • use, sell or advertise personal vaporiser products
  • give personal vaporiser products to someone under 18 years of age
  • sell tobacco products
  • are responsible for a smoke-free area
  • run a smoke-free public event.

The new laws aim to:

  • prevent people from starting to use e-cigarettes – particularly young people and those who have already quit tobacco smoking or have never been a smoker
  • minimise any potential risks to health including exposure to second-hand vapour
  • ensure our existing efforts to reduce smoking are protected.

Personal vaporiser products

  • A personal vaporiser product is an electronic cigarette or other device that heats a substance into a mist for a person to inhale.
  • Liquids and other things for use with the devices are also personal vaporiser products.

Use by adults

  • A person over 18 years may use personal vaporiser products that do not contain nicotine, except in smoke-free areas.
  • It is still against the law to use or possess nicotine for personal vaporiser products – nicotine is a harmful substance classified as a schedule 7 dangerous poison.

Use by under 18s

  • As with tobacco products, a person under 18 years of age must not smoke or use personal vaporiser products. A child may only possess the products if that is a necessary part of their employment with a licence-holder.
  • An enforcement officer can seize personal vaporiser products from a person under 18.
  • The officer may also provide a warning and other information approved by the Director of Public Health. The officer may require the person to attend a specific place with their parent or guardian to receive the information.

Supply to under 18s

  • As with tobacco products, it is against the law for anyone to give or supply personal vaporiser products to a person under 18 years of age. This includes supply by family and friends.
  • Infringement and court penalties have increased for this offence. A court can impose a maximum fine of approximately $19 000 for a first offence, $38 000 for a second offence, and $57 000 for a further offence.

Ban on advertising

  • As with tobacco products, it is against the law to advertise personal vaporiser products.

Selling personal vaporiser products

  • As with tobacco products, a person must hold a licence issued by the Director of Public Health to sell personal vaporiser products.
  • A licence cannot be issued for specialist tobacconist stores or for public events.
  • Retail laws are similar to those for tobacco products, including:
  • informing employees of the under
    18 bans
  • displaying certain notices
  • following the Director of Public Health’s mandatory guidelines
  • limits on the design and placement of sales units
  • a ban on display, advertising or marketing
  • a ban on using them in shopper loyalty programs.
  • It is also against the law for a supplier, retailer
    or manufacturer to provide false information about any laws for personal vaporiser products.

Licensing

  • When considering an application for a licence to sell tobacco products or personal vaporiser products, the Director of Public Health may enquire with other agencies to decide if the person is fit and proper to hold a licence.
  • The Director may also obtain reports from police if the applicant agrees.  If not, the Director may refuse to determine an application.
  • In the future, licence-holders will need to collect and keep information about tobacco products and personal vaporiser products sold and provide this information when renewing their licence. Before imposing this condition, the Director will seek feedback from some retailers on how this can best work in practice.
  • In the future, guidelines issued by the Director may require licence-holders to give customers who buy tobacco products or personal vaporiser products certain information.  No guidelines have yet been issued.

Smoke-free areas

  • Using a personal vaporiser is sometimes called vaping. In Tasmania, the law refers to this as a form of smoking.
  • All smoking is banned in smoke-free areas.
  • This applies no matter the substance smoked (for example tobacco, herbs, e-juice) or the item used to smoke it (for example, shisha, electronic cigarette).
  • A person who smokes in a smoke-free area can be fined. The occupier of that smoke-free area can also be fined.
  • Smoke-free areas include:
    • enclosed public places or workplaces
    • any vehicle with a child in it
    • any work vehicle with another person in it
    • within three metres of bus shelters
    • bus malls and pedestrian malls
    • public swimming pools and between the flags at a beach
    • within three metres of the entrance/exit to a building
    • in and within three metres of an outdoor dining area
    • within 10 metres of a building’s ventilation air intake
    • within 20 metres of an outdoor sporting event
    • within 10 metres of a children’s playground
    • outdoor areas designated as smoke-free by the occupier
    • certain public events.

More information

Department of Health and Human Services website

Email tobacco.control@dhhs.tas.gov.au

Phone: (03) 6166 6665

Public Health Act 1997

Part of a Healthy Tasmania: A Government and Community Partnership

This information is a guide only. Legal obligations attaching to the retail of smoking products in Tasmania arise under the Public Health Act 1997 and guidelines issued under that Act.  This information has been prepared in good faith but is not a substitute for legal or other professional advice with respect to obligations arising under that Act.