For free and confidential legal advice about vaping, contact us here

Vapes are used to smoke, and they are sometimes called e-cigarettes. They can come with or without nicotine. It is against the law to have a vape that has nicotine without a prescription in NSW. 

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Is buying vapes legal in New South Wales?

In NSW, it is illegal for anyone to buy (or have) a vape with nicotine without a prescription from a doctor. People who are 18 or over can buy vapes that do not contain nicotine. 

If you are under 18, it is illegal for someone to sell you any kind of e-cigarette (it doesn’t matter if it contains nicotine, or not). It is also illegal for someone who is aged 18 or over to buy a vape for you.

Where can I vape?

In NSW, it’s against the law to vape in a smoke-free area. All enclosed public spaces are smoke-free areas. Enclosed public places are places that are open to the public, have a roof, and are mostly surrounded by walls (even if there are doors or open passageways). 

Some examples of places that are usually enclosed public places are: 

  • Shopping centres; 
  • Restaurants, cafes and dining areas; 
  • Pubs, clubs and bars (except designated smoking areas); 
  • Schools, colleges and universities; 
  • Community centres, halls and churches; 
  • Theatres, libraries and galleries; 
  • Public transport (buses, trains, trams, aeroplanes, taxis, ferries); 
  • Gyms and sporting facilities; 
  • Hospitals.

 Certain types of outdoor public places are also smoke-free areas. These include: 

  • Places near outdoor children’s play equipment 
  • Swimming pools  
  • Sports grounds 
  • Platforms at train or light rail stations 
  • Ferry wharves 
  • Bus stops 
  • Taxi ranks 
  • Near the entrance/exit of public or commercial buildings 
  • In or near outdoor restaurants, cafes or dining areas.

 You can be given a penalty if you are caught vaping in any of these places, unless you didn’t know it was a smoke-free area and there was no easy way of knowing it was a smoke-free area.

Can I vape in a car?

It’s illegal to smoke in a car if there is someone younger than 16 years old in the car. If you are driving a car with someone younger than 16 inside, and anyone smokes in the car, you are also breaking the law. Smoking includes vapes as well as cigarettes. Police can give you a fine on the spot if you are caught.

Can police confiscate my vape if I am under 18?

If the police think that you are under 18, they can take a vape from you while you are in a public place (this is most places, except for private houses). You will probably be asked for ID first. Anything confiscated from you will probably not be returned. 

What can happen if I vape at school?

Vaping is banned at all public schools in NSW. This includes in school buildings, gardens, sports fields and car parks. Public schools might also have other rules about vapes. 

Private schools can make their own rules about vaping at school.  

If you want to know what your school rules say, you can ask someone at your school (such as a teacher or principal) for a copy of your school rules, or have a look on your school’s website. 

If you break school rules, for example by vaping, taking vapes to school or giving vapes to another student, then the school can take disciplinary action.   

If you are in trouble for having or using a vape at school, you can contact us for advice here. You can also check out our pages on suspensions and expulsions. 

More information about vaping

If you are thinking of vaping, it’s really important to find out about the health risks so you can make an informed choice. You can find out more from NSW Health, here. 

If you are feeling pressured to vape, or if there is anything else that is troubling you, you can contact the Kids Helpline for 24/7 free and confidential support. Their number is 1800 55 1800 and their website is here. 

If you want help to stop vaping, or if you have questions about vaping, you can talk to your doctor, a youth health service, or you can call the NSW Quitline on 13 78 48. 

If you want legal help with a vaping problem, and you are under 25, you can contact us for free and confidential help here. 

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