While countries like the United Kingdom have openly promoted the use of electronic cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes, the Australian government is still being ambiguous about the legality of e-cigarettes. While electronic cigarette hardware is not considered illegal, it is the nicotine solution that is the root of the problem. The device itself poses no problems but the perceived usage does.
Nicotine when used in smoking cessation therapies is classified as a schedule 2 drug which can be used through a pharmacy medicine. The nicotine solution found in e-cigarette juice is currently not classified under schedule 2. No state in Australia has confirmed whether nicotine juice is approved or not. This allows different states to set regulations differently.
Currently Queensland is the only state that classifies nicotine under the regulated poison category and does not allow possession, distribution or sale of e liquid. ACT also classifies schedule 7 drugs as dangerous. States like Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia pose no restriction on personal possession of nicotine and only places restrictions on retailing and wholesaling of the schedule 7 drug. Northern Territory currently imposes restrictions on nicotine possession but allows exceptions through a permit that can be applied for.
Upon contacting, Australian customs laid down the details of the rules surrounding importation of nicotine liquid and electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarette devices containing e-liquid with no nicotine content are not bound by any regulations. Although liquid nicotine is listed under Schedule 7 poison, it does not necessary lead to any prohibitions on import.
It was also cleared that the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) will take over the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes only if the product claims to act as a cessation device. Since electronic cigarettes are not tobacco products, they are not subject to duty expenses as long as the total value of the goods ranges below $1,000 (Australian).