A NSW man is believed to have been the first Australian to be fined for smoking an electronic cigarette in a public place.
According to News Limited reports, retired builder Anthony Campo, 67, was smoking an e-cigarette while waiting for a train at Gosford Railway Station, on the NSW Central Coast.
Mr Campo was issued a $300 fine by a police officer for smoking “in or on (a) public passenger vehicle, train, public place”.
When Mr Campo pleaded not guilty to the charge at Gosford Local Court last Friday (1 November), the prosecution claimed that irrespective of whether it was an e-cigarette that he was using, regulations defined the offence as including “any tobacco or any other product intended to be smoked”.
Magistrate Alan Railton ruled that there was nothing the court could do but enforce a fine.
According to the TGA website, “Nicotine is classified by law as a dangerous poison. States and territories have responsibility for regulating dangerous poisons. In all states and territories, the retail sale of nicotine is an offence unless a permit has been issued by the relevant state or territory authority. In some states and territories, obtaining, purchasing, possession and/or using nicotine without a permit is an offence.”
An Australian e-cigarette, or ‘vaping’ blog advises users that “some countries such as the United Kingdom provided exemption to e-cigarettes. Regulation for e-cigarettes is not as lenient down under. Fair go? It’s officially a “No go.” on e-cigarettes”.
While stating that there is little consensus between the states, the blog claims that in NSW “at the moment, there are no restrictions imposed on buying or having nicotine containing substances. Selling nicotine is prohibited”.