Background: Australian laws covering electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are complex and vary between jurisdictions. The supply of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes in Australia is illegal. Possession or use of nicotine in e-cigarettes without approval is also illegal and the sale of non-nicotine e-cigarettes is illegal in some states. Despite the current legal barriers, the use of e-cigarettes by Australian smokers has increased over recent years.
Objective: This article summarises these laws, recent cases involving e-cigarettes and what is known about their safety and efficacy as cessation aids.
Discussion: Australian medical practitioners are likely to be asked about e-cigarettes by patients who smoke and may be interested in using them to quit smoking. The efficacy of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid has not been fully established. The health risk of long-term use is also unknown, although it is probably less than that of smoking cigarettes. There is an urgent need for research on the health effects of e-cigarettes and their use in quitting smoking.