20 Nov, 2011 01:00 AM
CANBERRANS keen to try smokeless ”e-cigarettes” are running a legal tightrope, with the product banned across Australia despite its increasing availability online.Health authorities and law enforcement agencies are concerned e-cigarettes are arriving from overseas and are available online from a growing number of websites – including some based in Australia where possession or use of nicotine for recreational purposes is illegal.

Nicotine is banned because it is a scheduled poison and nicotine-replacement products must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to be exempt.

The Federal Government banned e-cigarettes, often marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking, earlier this year at the same time a 25per cent tax hike on tobacco products took effect.

Australia’s largest supplier of e-cigarettes, New Zealand business Elusion, reported that sales increased 200per cent when the price hike took effect but the federal ban appeared to have no impact on sales to its 10,000 Australian customers.

The Australian Medical Association said there was no evidence ”e-cigarettes” helped people quit, and Victorian AMA president Harry Hemley warned the products posed a serious health risk.

”I’m concerned they are being marketed online as a healthy alternative to regular cigarettes when there is no evidence to support this claim,” he said.

”There are no warning labels to alert consumers to the risks of use.”

A TGA spokeswoman said e-cigarettes were not a safe alternative to cigarettes.

”Nicotine is a schedule seven poison because it is harmful to human health,” she said.

”It is very important that consumers understand that when buying unregistered products over the internet that they have no guarantee about the quality or the actual ingredients of the product they are going to inhale or ingest, and that there is no guarantee that these products are safe or effective.”

ACT Health said e-cigarettes also encouraged people to continue smoking behaviour.

”Because e-cigarettes mimics smoking in both design and use, the ACT Health Directorate does not support [their use],” a spokeswoman said. ”The Health Directorate strongly advocates the de-normalisation of smoking and e-cigarettes are counterproductive to this goal.”

Elusion chief executive Paul Medarov said authorities missed the point and most people reduced their nicotine intake, while many gave up smoking completely.

”Essentially, the idea behind e-cigarettes is that by using them, it will mimic and therefore entirely replace the need for real cigarettes,” he said.



  1. I actually just got my e-cig about a week ago. I am really enjoying it. I don’t have to go outside to smoke and I don’t bother people around me with the smell.
    I went with the Blu e-cig because of the flavors they have and the price was right. I read a bunch of reviews and see that blu e-cigs among the top 5.
    I took the plunge and I am really glad I did. I actually feel that my body feels better without all the toxins that are in traditional cigarettes.If your thinking about ecigs, give them a try. Thanks for your info.

  2. If the Australian authorities did any research they’d find that there have been no reported deaths or significant illnesses worldwide from the use of ecigs. Can they say the same for cigarettes? This fact alone stands to prove that they (ecigs) are in fact, a safer alternative to cigarettes. Cigarettes have over 4000 chemicals in them of which many are KNOWN to cause cancer and other diseases. Nothing in the chemicals used for ecigs causes cancer or any other diseases. Again, proving them to be safer than cigarettes.

    It seems to me the Australian government is just as greedy as the American government, wanting their tax money from their $18/pack cigarettes, which they’re not getting if people are switching to ecigs.

  3. I was a smoker for 26 years and enjoyed it, until I started getting razor blades in my legs and feet. I couldn’t get up at nite for the pain I was feeling. Then I noticed sores on my legs and feet that wouldn’t heal, they got worse and seeing my doctor he had one thing to say,gve up smokes now! Or loose your legs,i found ecigs on the net while looking for help to give up,i have been on ecigs for a year now and My legs I can get up at nite now=NO razor blades And I don’t have sores on my legs or feet, And i don’t cough anymore, my feet have circulation and I’m cuting my toenails for the first time in 10 years. I can taste food and I’m not trying to catch my breath like i was,i can only say 1 thing, if your like me and enjoy cigs get off the cancer and get on the vape it saved me.