Requirements for retail sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products

While specific conditions may be attached to any licence issued, the following requirements will be attached to all tobacco and e-cigarette licences and must be adhered to at all times by retailers:

New licence conditions for selling e-cigarettes

New licence conditions are being introduced under the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997 (TEP Act) from 10 July 2023 that establish stronger requirements for all retailers and TEP Act licence holders to comply with the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (CS Act) and assist with regulation of nicotine vaping products (NVP).

SA Health, through its administration of the TEP Act, licenses tobacco and e-cigarette merchants who are then permitted to sell e-cigarette products pursuant to the TEP Act.

To learn more, see the new licence conditions for e-cigarettes page.

One licence per outlet

Each tobacco retail outlet must have their own Retail Tobacco and E-Cigarette Merchant’s Licence. Retailers with more than one retail outlet selling tobacco must hold a separate tobacco licence for each of their outlets. Licences cannot be transferred from one outlet to another.

Display of Retail Tobacco and E-Cigarette Merchant's Licence

A copy of your Retail Tobacco and E-Cigarette Merchant’s Licence must be displayed in a prominent place in close proximity to each point of sale where tobacco is sold (including vending machines). It must be placed in a manner and position that is likely to attract the attention of customers purchasing tobacco products.

Display of prescribed sign

The A4 sign titled Sale of Tobacco Products and E-Cigarette Products is required to be displayed in a manner and position that is likely to attract the attention of the customer, near the point of sale (including a vending machine).

Not displaying this sign can incur a maximum penalty of $1250 or an expiation fee of $160.

For more information, visit the tobacco signage page.

Limited points of sale

Tobacco retailers without a liquor licence are permitted one tobacco point of sale. Those retailers with an existing liquor licence can have up to five points of sale for tobacco purchases.

For more information on tobacco points of sale, see the Point of Sale restrictions for tobacco retailers page.

Sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products to minors

All people selling tobacco and e-cigarette products need to be given adequate training on how to avoid selling tobacco products to children. This includes training any relatives or friends who might occasionally work in the business as well as paid employees.

Proprietors should ensure that all staff know:

  • what procedures they should follow if a customer becomes difficult when asked to produce ID. Role-playing some of the situations that might arise can assist staff in this area
  • the penalties associated with selling cigarettes or e-cigarettes/ vapes to a child
  • staff should be regularly reminded about these procedures. Some employers find it helpful to develop a store policy and procedure. See the fact sheet for an example of a store policy, employee pledge and an employee procedure (DOC 101KB) you can implement.

For more information on selling tobacco to minors, see the sale of tobacco to minors page.

Indirect orders

A person must not sell a tobacco product by retail if the order for the tobacco product was placed by mail, telephone, facsimile transmission or internet or other electronic communication.

Businesses outside of South Australia that are carrying on a business of selling tobacco products by retail in South Australia are required to comply with South Australian legislative requirements.

The ban does not prevent retailers from ordering stock from wholesalers by any indirect manner.

Temporary stalls

If the point of sale is a booth, tent or other temporary structure, whether or not part of the booth, tent or enclosure is permanent or if tobacco products are available for sale at a point of sale for not more than two weeks in a year then the following licence conditions will apply:

  • the vendor cannot provide inducements to encourage young people to frequent the point of sale area. Inducements include any incentive to enter or remain in an area, including furnishings and entertainment.
  • no tobacco products or pictures of tobacco products can be on display
  • no signs can be displayed within or on the structure other than those prescribed by regulation.

Note: Retailers are not permitted to sell e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products from temporary outlets.

Mobile sales

Selling tobacco and e-cigarette from a mobile sales point, such as a mobile tray is banned.

This sales method can serve to glamorise smoking and vaping, and often specifically targets young people. Research has demonstrated that smoking relapse often occurs under the influence of alcohol in a social setting and so these regulations will help former smokers avoid the temptation of relapsing into smoking in such social situations.

Specialist tobacconists

A specialist tobacconist is defined as a person who sells tobacco products by retail in a premises and

  • in the case of a business that has been trading for a period of more than one financial year, the gross turnover of all tobacco products sold at the premises constitutes 80 per cent or more of the gross turnover of all products sold at the premises during the immediately preceding financial year; or
  • in any other case - the period for which the business has been trading, the gross turnover of all tobacco products sold at the premises constitutes 80 per cent or more of the gross turnover of all products sold at the premises.

Vending/dispensing machines

All tobacco vending machines placed into operation (no matter where they are located within the licensed premises) must have an appropriate staff intervention mechanism and correct signage.

For more information on vending machines and dispensing machines, see the tobacco vending machines page.

Note: Retailers are not permitted to sell e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products by vending machines.

Customer loyalty and reward schemes

Retailers must not, in connection with the sale of a tobacco product, or for the purpose of promoting the sale of a tobacco product provide or offer to provide a number of points, or a similar device, by the accumulation of which a person may become entitled to, or qualify for, a prize, gift or other benefit.

The ban only applies to the accrual of reward points. Credit card reward points, gift cards and vouchers can still be used to purchase tobacco products.

The maximum penalty for contravening this law is a fine of $5,000.

Fruit and confectionery flavoured cigarettes

The Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Regulations 2019 bans the display of fruit and confectionery flavoured cigarettes at the point of sale. This includes price boards and price tickets.

Fruit and confectionery cigarettes are defined as cigarettes that possesses, or the smoke of which possesses, a distinctive fruity, sweet or confectionery-like character; and that is advertised in a way that might encourage young people to smoke, but does not include a cigarette the flavouring of which is primarily of a menthol character.

E-cigarette liquids

Tobacco and E-Cigarette Product Regulations 2019 clarify that an e-cigarette liquid is an e-cigarette product.

According to the Regulations, the following products are included as a prescribed ‘e-cigarette product’ under section 4(1) of the Act:

  • an e-cigarette liquid
  • a constituent substance of an e-cigarette liquid.

This means that offences such as the prohibition on sales to minors, advertising and display at the point of sale, as well as the prohibition on indirect (including online) sale, apply to e-cigarette liquids. This includes liquid flavours.

E-cigarette retailers need to comply with these changes when selling e-cigarette liquids, ensuring flavours are not displayed.

The Regulations also include the definition of an ‘e-cigarette liquid’, which is ‘a liquid of a kind designed or intended for use in an e-cigarette’.

Split cigarette packets

Under the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Regulations 2019, the sale of cigarette packets that hold any less than 20 cigarettes or which are designed to be, or are readily able to be, divided into portions that contain less than 20 cigarettes each, are prohibited


All activities intended to publicise or promote the purchase or use of tobacco products are banned. Items such as tobacco branded posters or signs, bunting, light boxes, clocks, counter mats and other advertising and promotional material must not be displayed.

Toy cigarettes

It is illegal to sell goods that are designed to resemble tobacco products, such as toy cigarettes and confectionery, as these are seen as promoting smoking to children.


Information about the requirements regarding the packaging or labelling of cigars for sale can be obtained from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Further information

For further information on tobacco and e-cigarette laws, contact SA Health's Health Protection Operations via email: