Queensland: Turn In Your Vaping Friends

Australian state has a dedicated phone line to report nicotine users

Queensland, Austrailia

In the Australian state of Queensland, nicotine is illegal. It’s illegal for a vendor to sell it, but it’s also illegal for a vaper to possess or use. Yes, illegal. Totally prohibited. In fact, you can be fined more than $9,000 for possessing nicotine.

Electronic cigarettes containing liquid nicotine are illegal in Queensland. It is an offence under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (PDF, 1 MB)(HDPR), for a person to manufacture, obtain, possess, prescribe, dispense, sell, advertise, use or destroy nicotine, unless the person is specifically authorised or holds an approval under the HDPR. The maximum penalty is $9,108.Queensland Health website

This isn’t news. Nicotine possession has been prohibited in Queensland since 1996. What makes it a story is an Australian vaper named Jennifer Stone, who posted some tweets today that caught the attention of a lot of vapers.

Yeah, you read that right. The Queensland government is encouraging citizens to report people who might use nicotine. They’d like you to turn your friends in. Drop a dime. Rat ‘em out. Snitch. The state government actually has a phone number listed on its official website that you can call to inform on fellow citizens engaged in the dangerous crime of vaping.

You have the freedom to die


We reported recently on the Australian national government’s planned review of vaping and e-cigarettes. They commissioned some of the most rabid anti-vaping “experts” in the world, many of whom are locals. Australia is home to perhaps the most wild-eyed, prohibitionist tobacco controllers anywhere. No one — the government included — could have any doubt about what conclusions just-say-no antis like Simon Chapman and Mike Daube would reach about vaping.

Additionally, this is the country where a vaping vendor was prosecuted for selling e-cigs. He just lost an appeal, and now may lose his home to pay legal costs in the case. (You can still help Vincent van Heerden — please do!) But guess what’s completely legal and widely available? Yep, cigarettes. Hey, it’s a free country, right? Dear citizens: If you can’t quit the way we want you to, you’re free to die. Signed, Your government.

So, knowing what we know about Australia’s backward laws and hateful anti-vaping rhetoric, who would have expected to hear anything that could make us even more contemptuous toward this rampant nanny state? Not me. But they pulled it off. Creating 1-800-NICSNITCH might be the ugliest example yet of a government treating vapers as criminals and “addicts,” and using state power to drive people away from harm reduction and straight into the welcoming arms of the cigarette industry.

Queensland, you’re killing us.

Jim McDonald

I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.

  • ChrisR

    As a Queenslander, this makes me very sad. It’s absolutely insane – all I want is to not smoke tobacco. Choosing to do so by vaping is a crime. I hate my government because it’s discriminating against me. It seems that half the politicians are corrupt, the rest are blind, and the whole system is morally bankrupt. We have a tool that stands the best chance of eliminating tobacco use in one generation but no, they have to push their prohibitionist policies that serve only themselves, and leave generations of Australians to die. Shame Queensland, Shame!

    • Jim McDonald

      It is sad and shameful. But I hope it will drive people to get involved and start trying to turn things around.

  • a Vaper from Germany

    Why not call that telephone number and report every single politician who supported that absolutely disgusting and shameful policy?

    • Tom Blackwell

      You have to hide ecigs in the glove box of their cars before you call.
      Make sure you say you saw them stick the ecig in their glove box when they noticed you looking while they were vaping.

      • a Vaper from Germany

        Nah, I think it would do to simply flood that phone number with so many useless calls that they rather sooner than later stop the whole “fourth reich” thing.

        • a Vaper from Germany

          Oh, and call every time you see someone buying potatoes or aubergines – they contain nicotine.

  • Jeremy Woods

    This makes me ashamed to be Australian.

    At least I’m living in Canada now where there aren’t so many backwards, archaic laws.

    • jeff

      I’m Canadian/Australian Living in Ontario near Ottawa, My wife is Aussie :), If your living in Ontario and ordered from the USA, lookout for FEDEX, They shipped my ejuice from the USA to Montreal Quebec and its been stuck in customs for 1.5 months, I ordered it from MBV, Why they landed it in Quebec I have no Idea, Quebec has the strongest laws in Canada. Should of landed in Ottawa or Toronto International Airports then it would of been fine.

      • Jeff, you might want to check with a lawyer. Unlikely that they’d try to hit you as an international drug trafficker, but nowadays I wouldn’t rule it out. Not sure how the US PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act) works w/regard to other countries.

        – MJM

      • Jim McDonald

        It is illegal in Canada to import nicotine-containing products.

  • Paul Hobson

    That Country has come a long way from the days it was founded by convicts!

    • Carole Stone

      Now it’s run by the bastards.

  • ohil

    Time to revolt. Disolve a nicorette and vape it absurd law. Everybody join abillionlives.com fight the fight.

    • Jim McDonald

      I’d suggest everyone in Australia join the New Nicotine Alliance-Aus.

      • Annette H


  • Kellie

    Are nicotine patches illegal too?

    • Jim McDonald

      No, those are approved pharmaceutical products — same as in the US and UK, and most other countries.

  • Mad Dragon

    I wouldn’t doubt it, if the patch and gum (which both contain nicotine) are legal, exempt somehow, but legal none the less? I think a lawsuit is in order against this government, hell all governments who value profits from taxes vs the welfare of their citizens? I would ship a gallon of liquid nic there to plant on government officials and see them squirm when they are fined. Simply test their blood for nic. You will find it if they ate anything with it present or if they smoke. Absolutely shameful!!!

    • Jim McDonald

      Patches and gum are legal pharmaceutical products. Nic in food doesn’t register on cotinine tests; there’s not enough of it.

      • Murray_B

        Are you sure about that, Jim? It would take a kilogram of tomatoes to have as much nicotine as one gram of tobacco but it is not that hard to eat a couple of pounds of tomatoes.

      • I’d have to agree with Murray to some extent here: tomatoes might not do it, but a good heavy diet of eggplant parmesan might do it. Eggplant happens to have about 1 milligram of nicotine per 10 kilograms of product. 1 kg would give you the same dosage as smoking an “ultralight” cigarette.

        Alternatively they could just claim they chewed some “legal” nicotine gum.


  • Annette H

    Yep its a lot like Stalinist Russia here
    Just keep smoking we need the money.

    • Murray_B

      Nope, Annette, Stalin smoked and so did Churchill and FDR. It was the other dictator that didn’t smoke: (From Auf der Wacht 1937, page 18) “Our Fuhrer Adolf Hitler drinks no alcohol and does not smoke… His performance at work is incredible.”
      The Nazi leaders did not really believe that smoking was harmful but the German tobacco companies had a lot of cash in the bank and the party wanted it. The Nazis invented tobacco hazards through propaganda, nationalized the tobacco industry, and then took control of the money. It was about the money then and it is about the money today. It seems that little has changed.

      • Annette H

        I was thinking more on terms of dobbing in a neighbour or relative or friend. Very 1984

        • Murray_B

          Orwell’s book was fiction but the Gestapo in Nazi Germany were very real. They used a large number of citizen-informers to identify dissenters who could be dealt with at a later time. This is not the first time that ordinary citizens have been encouraged to inform on the neighbours.

          Communist dictatorships do similar things but the anti-nicotine programs originally came mostly from the Nazis. You had the right thought but the wrong dictator.

        • Annette, How do you think they deal with enforcing smoking bans in rural bars or apartment complexes? They depend on citizen, neighbor, and children’s reports on their parents.

          – MJM

  • Phil Gibson

    As an Australian, and a vaper, all I can say is shame Queensland, shame. I have been cigs free now 18 months, thanks to vaping, and down to 3mgs or 0 mg of nic, Vaping has worked for me and lots of people I know. Not sure how it would have gone if I couldn’t have got juice with nic!

  • Murray_B

    Does this ban include the traditonal Aboriginal pituri mixture too? That also contains nicotine.

    • Jim McDonald

      I don’t know!

  • renderwerks

    I think those in Australia should engage in something similar to “swatting” that we have seen in the USA. Someone calls in a false report and gets the swat team to show up. I think Aussies should flood their government with false reports of “nicotine fiends”. Maybe come up with a list of government officials a little lower and “off the radar”. With some thought, I’m sure a few good lists could be created – people that deserve it…

  • Dress up as an Eggplant, and walk into the police station holding an eggplant. Demand to be incarcerated, housed, and fed by the government for “possession of nicotine.” Better yet, get a hundred folks to do it.

    – MJM

  • Elliott Nunez

    Snitches get stitches then theyre found in ditches.

  • Sooo…. if I buy a house and discover a bottle of nic liquid in it later on, I’m guilty with no way out? I can’t use it, or destroy it, or possess it. If I call the police and admit to possession I’m guilty. Hmmm… ok… there IS one small loophole: I could call a friend, invite them over, give it to them as a gift and THEN call the police to come arrest THEM! Wow! Good thing Australia is such a friendly place!

  • Richard Cheese

    The current Qld government embody all the worst traits of do-gooders. The reality of the situation is that the laws have nothing to do with public health interests and everything to do with propping up the pharmaceutical industry and its overpriced and less effectual quitting methods.