Department of Health

Regulation of nicotine for human use

Key messages

  • From 1 October 2021, all nicotine vaping products are Schedule 4 (prescription only) medicines.
  • Nicotine may be a Schedule 7 poison (Dangerous poison) in Victoria.
  • Where nicotine is a Schedule 7 poison and is for human use and Schedule 4 does not apply, it is not available for general sale by retail in Victoria.
  • Some consumer products, such as e-liquids for use in an e-cigarette, may be advertised as ‘nicotine free’. Unless such products are tested and found not to contain nicotine by accredited laboratories, suppliers and potential consumers cannot rely on such marketing or labelling claims.
  • Information on this page does not apply to tobacco when prepared and packed for smoking.

Nicotine for human use

From 1 October 2021, all nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine, are Schedule 4 (prescription only) medicines. Consumers require a prescription for all purchases of nicotine vaping products. This includes purchases from Australian pharmacists and overseas.

Smoking cessation aids, meaning nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) (including sprays, patches, lozenges, chews and gums) that do not require a prescription will continue to be available from pharmacies and some retail outlets – see below.

Further information is available via the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Outside of these products, the Poisons Code lists nicotine for human use as a Schedule 7 poison. Schedule 7 poisons are substances not for general sale by retail. Schedule 7 nicotine does not include tobacco when prepared and packed for smoking or e-cigarette products that are included in Schedule 4 and available on a prescription.

Victorian legislation makes it an offence to manufacture, sell, supply, purchase or otherwise obtain, possess or use nicotine for human use when it is a Schedule 7 poison, unless the person is authorised under Victorian legislation to do so.

Some products advertised as ‘nicotine free’ may not be accurately labelled and may contain nicotine or other dangerous chemicals. Suppliers and potential consumers cannot rely on such marketing claims.

Smoking cessation aids

Certain smoking cessation aids containing nicotine have been assessed as medicines for therapeutic use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and can be legally supplied and used in Australia. Products are available from supermarkets and pharmacies; they include lozenges, gums, transdermal patches, inhalers and tablets. The labels will include the AUST R number indicating that the products are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Smokers wishing to give up smoking are encouraged to seek the support of Quit Victoria by calling the Quitline on 13 7848 or checking the Quit website.

Victoria Police investigations

Members of the public may contact Victoria Police through the Crime Stoppers website or phone 1800 333 000 if they suspect that products containing nicotine for human use, such as liquid nicotine or e-liquids containing nicotine, are being offered for sale from retail outlets. This does not include tobacco when prepared and packed for smoking, smoking cessation aids approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, or vaping products containing nicotine that are being legally supplied from a pharmacist.

For further information on the regulation of nicotine in Victoria, please contact Medicines and Poisons Regulation.

Tobacco products

Information on this page does not apply to tobacco when prepared and packed for smoking.

In Victoria, the Tobacco Act 1987 regulates e-cigarette products in the same way as tobacco products. This means that they cannot be used in areas where smoking is banned, cannot be displayed at most retail outlets, cannot be sold to people under 18 years of age and are subject to other restrictions.

This includes both the e-cigarette devices and e-cigarette accessories such as refill cartridges and e-liquids.

E-cigarette products containing nicotine cannot be sold from retail outlets. They are only available from a pharmacist when obtained under a doctor or nurse practitioner prescription.

For information on the Victorian regulation of tobacco and e-cigarette products see the Retailers page.

For more information about e-cigarettes and e-liquids visit:

Better Health Channel - e-cigarettes

Better Health Channel - e-liquids for use in e-cigarettes

Reviewed 10 January 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Department of Health GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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