New licence conditions for selling e-cigarettes and tobacco

The following information can assist all tobacco and e-cigarette licence holders and their staff in understanding the new licence conditions introduced from 10 July 2023.

All licence holders must comply with the new Tobacco & E-Cigarette Product Act 1997 (TEP Act) licence conditions.

Key points

  1. Understand the laws: Read the licence conditions and familiarise yourself with section 18 of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (CS Act) which prohibits the sale, supply and possession of nicotine.
  2. Obtain and maintain proof that your vaping products (ie, e-cigarette products) are nicotine-free: When ordering vapes from your supplier, importer or manufacturer, clearly specify that you want non-nicotine vapes only and that they must provide you with documentation outlining the product ingredients. Review this documentation carefully to ensure that it does not contain nicotine. Keep these records at your business to show to an Authorised Officer during an inspection if requested.
  3. Arrange laboratory testing when required: If your supplier cannot or will not provide you with written documentation confirming the vapes do not contain nicotine, you may consider refraining from purchasing from this supplier. If you still want to sell this product, you must submit the product for laboratory testing to confirm the absence of nicotine and keep the laboratory record at your business to show to an Authorised Officer during an inspection if requested.
  4. Check the vaping products received into your store: Inspect all incoming vaping products by reviewing the label and supporting documentation accompanying them. Ask the supplier or sales representative if the products contain nicotine. If there is any indication that these products may contain nicotine, do not accept them.
  5. Have supplier information readily available: Maintain relevant documentation that supports the traceability of your tobacco or vaping products to the supplier, importer or manufacturer. Please refer to the conditions for specific information that is required to be maintained – in most instances an itemised invoice will be sufficient. Keep these records at your business to show to an Authorised Officer during an inspection if requested.
  6. Train your staff: Ensure all staff and contractors who are involved in the sale and supply of tobacco and vaping products have adequate skills and knowledge relative to their work responsibilities. This means they should be aware of the requirements of the TEP Act, CS Act and other relevant legislation. Licence holders are encouraged to provide adequate supervision and oversight to ensure ongoing compliance with all the requirements. As a licence holder, you may be found guilty of an offence committed by your employees under the TEP Act and CS Act.
  7. Take immediate action if you think any vapes may contain nicotine: If for any reason you know or suspect that a vape product may contain nicotine, immediately cease sale/supply of the product. Take immediate action to either verify nicotine through laboratory testing or dispose the product.
  8. Be aware of other laws about tobacco and vapes: Ensure that you are aware of and comply with all other Australian Government legislation that may be applicable to your business. This means that you must not sell or supply products that are prohibited by other legislation (eg cannabis, viagra, amyl nitrate, chop-chop etc).
  9. Display your licence: Display your TEP Act licence, including the conditions in a visible place on your premises. This will enable your staff and customers to readily see them.
  10. Get approval from SA Health if there is a change in ownership of your business: If there is a change in ownership at your business, please be aware that the licence does not automatically transfer over to the new owners. You/they must seek approval from SA Health prior to doing so and please be mindful that this process can take up to 6 months.

The new licence conditions

  1. Tobacco products and e-cigarette products can only be sold at a place specified in this licence. Retailers with more than one retail outlet selling tobacco and/or e-cigarettes must hold a separate licence for each outlet.
  2. This licence expires 12 months from the date of issue.
  3. The licensee must ensure that the current version of their Retail Tobacco and E-Cigarette Merchant’s Licence is displayed on the premises and visible to members of the public and staff. Where a licence consists of multiple pages (including conditions), a copy of each page must be clearly displayed.
  4. The Licensee must ensure that all employees and contractors who are involved in the sale and supply of tobacco and e-cigarette products have skills and knowledge that are commensurate with their work activities to ensure compliance with the Tobacco & E-Cigarette Product Act 1997 and these conditions of licence.
  5. The number of points of sale for tobacco and e-cigarette product at this address is limited to:
    • up to five points of sale for all premises licensed under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997, excluding premises with a packaged liquor sale licence granted under section 38 of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 that are restricted to one point of sale; or
    • one point of sale for other premises.
  6. The licensee must comply with the Controlled Substances Act 1984 and the legislative instruments made under this Act which relate to the sale, supply and/or possession of nicotine*.
  7. The licensee must not possess or store e-cigarette products containing nicotine or other products containing nicotine unless lawfully permitted under the Controlled Substances Act 1984.
  8. The licensee must verify, and keep and retain records of, the ingredients in e-cigarette products that are sold, supplied, possessed and/or stored on the premises. More specifically, verification must include at least one of the following:
    • A MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), certificate or statement issued from the supplier, importer or manufacturer outlining the ingredients contained within the e-cigarette product. For the purposes of this condition, the label and/or packaging of e-cigarette products is not a MSDS, certificate or statement.
    • A laboratory testing certificate verifying the absence of nicotine issued from an Australian NATA accredited laboratory, or comparable credentials if using an international laboratory. The laboratory certificate must include the date of the test; product details (brand, flavour, size and any identifying information such as batch numbers), the details of the laboratory, testing methodology performed and the LOQ (Limit of Quantification) or LOR (Limit of Reporting).
    • These records must be:
      • retained for a period of 2 years
      • kept, stored and be readily accessible on the premises
      • produced to an Authorised Officer for inspection upon request.
  9. The Licensee must keep and retain records of the suppliers, importers and/or manufacturers of all tobacco and e-cigarette products that are sold, supplied, possessed and/or stored on the premises. These records must include the following information:
    • name of purchaser
    • name of seller or importer including their name, address, contact details (phone / email) and Australian Business Number (ABN)
    • if products are imported directly from overseas (by the Licensee):
      • details of the manufacturer including name, address, contact details (phone / e-mail)
      • proof of legal importation and taxation/excise payment
      • date of sale
      • invoice number
      • itemised list of goods sold including product name, brand, quantity etc.
    • These records must be:
      • retained for a period of 2 years
      • kept, stored and be readily accessible on the premises
      • produced to an Authorised Officer for inspection upon request.
  10. The Licensee must comply with all Laws applicable to the occupation and operation of the licensed premises. For the purposes of this condition the word “Laws” means the laws in force in South Australia including the common law and all present and future legislation (both State and Federal) and all amendments to them and re-enactments of them and all regulations and by-laws, orders and proclamations made pursuant to them.
  11. The Licensee must prior to any takeover or merger, or change of either 51% of the legal or beneficial shareholding or membership of the Licensee or the effective control of the ownership or management of the Licensee, obtain the written approval of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing or delegate. Approval can be sought by writing to:
    • Tobacco Licensing, Health Protection & Licensing Services (HPLS), Department of Health and Wellbeing via
  12. The Licensee must advise in writing, and within 28 days, if the business is no longer selling tobacco and/or e-cigarette products by retail. Notification can be made in writing to:
    • Tobacco Licensing, Health Protection & Licensing Services (HPLS), Department of Health and Wellbeing via

* Nicotine for human use is a Schedule 4 poison for the purposes of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 in preparations for human use except:

  • in preparations for oromucosal or transdermal administration for human therapeutic use as an aid in withdrawal from tobacco smoking (eg, nicotine patches and nicotine gum)
  • in tobacco prepared and packaged for smoking.

Frequently asked questions

SA Health has become increasingly aware of the rate of non-compliance with the nicotine provisions contained in legislation. It is noted that some individuals and businesses have taken measures to conceal nicotine as being an ingredient in vaping products and to continue to sell nicotine vaping products (NVPs) in contravention of the law.

All conditions will become effective from 10 July 2023 and licence holders and their staff are required to comply.

However, condition 8 and 9 will apply prospectively (not retrospectively). This means you will not be in breach of the licence condition if you cannot provide the documentation in full for products that you have purchased prior to the commencement date. However, the licence holder must be able to provide supporting information to show that the product was purchased prior to the commencement date to a SA Health Authorised Officer.

Yes, all licence holders are strongly encouraged to conduct a self-audit of their current supplies of vape products and attempt to comply retrospectively. If you cannot adequately determine who the supplier is, or your supplier is not prepared to provide documentation verifying the absence of nicotine, then you should cease selling the product immediately and submit your product for laboratory testing or disposing of them.

An Authorised Officer (AO) will still have power to ask you for this documentation and if it cannot be provided during the inspection, it may contribute to the AO having reasonable cause to suspect that the product contains nicotine. If this occurs, the AO may seize all applicable vaping products from your store and submit them for laboratory analysis to confirm the presence or absence of nicotine.

The documentation can be in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), statement or laboratory certificate issued by your supplier, importer or manufacturer.

It is well recognised that many vapes are labelled as ‘nicotine-free’ or do not list nicotine as an ingredient, however, laboratory testing has often confirmed its presence. In turn, the label or packaging of a vaping product will not be accepted as documentation by Authorised Officers during compliance inspections.

No, you should not sell any vaping products if you do not have the documentation required by licence condition 8 and 9.

All documents need to be:

  • retained for a period of two years
  • kept, stored and be readily accessible on the premises
  • produced to an AO for inspection upon request.

What is considered ‘readily accessible’ may depend on the circumstances. The expectation is that the records be produced to an AO immediately or within a reasonable time period. This would mean during the course of the inspection in most instances.

It is important to note if these records cannot be provided to the AO during the inspection, it may contribute to the AO having reasonable cause to suspect that the product may contain nicotine. If this occurs, the AO may seize and retain the product.

There are several local and interstate laboratories that have the capability to test vaping products. Cost range between $200 and $300 and may take one to four weeks for results to be available.

When engaging a laboratory to do nicotine test, it is recommended that the laboratory:

  • is NATA accredited (or international equivalent)
  • can issue a testing certificate verifying the absence of nicotine and the:
    • date of the test
    • product details (brand, flavour, size and any identifying information such as batch numbers, expiry details)
    • details of the laboratory (name, phone number, address etc)
    • testing methodology performed and
    • the Limit of Quantification (LOQ) or Limit of Reporting (LOR) of the nicotine test.

If you cannot provide written verification from the supplier confirming the absence of nicotine, then, you will need to submit products for laboratory testing if you wish to sell or supply them.

In this case, you will have to select a representative sample of each brand and flavour you sell. For example, if you sell two different brands and five flavours of each, you will then need to submit at least ten samples for analysis.

The laboratory certificate must have all product identifying information such as brand, flavour, size and batch number or expiry dates. If you receive another consignment of these products that contain different batch numbers or expiry dates, you may be required to submit the new product for laboratory testing again.

The TGA website contains a searchable register of over 300 vaping products, many of which have been confirmed to contain nicotine. If you sell a product on this list, you are encouraged to stop selling the product until you have sufficient evidence that it does not contain nicotine or you should dispose of it immediately. For more information,  visit the TGA's testing of nicotine and vaping products page.

NVPs must not be disposed of through general waste. In accordance with the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010, a vape is prohibited from being disposed into landfill. There are several local and interstate waste disposal providers who can facilitate the safe, ethical, and lawful disposal of vapes and their contents.

Yes, SA Health Officers are Authorised Officers (AO) under the TEP Act (and CS Act) and may conduct unannounced inspections to verify compliance with the legislation, including licence conditions. AOs are required to carry identification while performing compliance activities and licence holders (or their employees) can ask to see an AO’s ID card at any time during the inspection.

AOs have a range of prescribed powers and some of these powers include the ability to:

  • enter and remain on the premises
  • require a person to produce a record
  • take photographs, films, audio, video or other recordings
  • seize and retain products or records if there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ that an offence has been committed under the Act, including licence conditions.

When an AO reasonably suspects that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offence against the TEP Act, they may require the person's full name, usual place of residence and evidence of the person's identity.

Any person who hinders, obstructs an AO or uses abusive, threatening or insulting language may be guilty of an offence and subject to a penalty of $35,000.

Lastly, South Australia Police (SAPOL) Officers are also AOs under the TEP Act and CS Act and may also conduct inspections and investigations as necessary.

Yes, any person who sells, supplies or possess a nicotine product that is not permitted under the CS Act is committing an offence. All employees must understand that they have a personal responsibility to ensure that they do not sell NVPs.

SA Health and SAPOL are authorised under the CS Act and may take action against an individual/employee if necessary.

SA Health Authorised Officers will typically take an educational approach to assist licence holders to comply with their legislative requirements. However, there may be some circumstances where action in the form of a caution, expiation, prosecution, or cancellation of a licence may be warranted.

A failure to comply with the TEP Act, including the licence conditions is an offence and may carry an expiation of $500 or maximum penalty of $10,000.

A variation of licence conditions is considered to be a decision of the Minister. According to section 12 of the TEP Act, licence holders who are dissatisfied with a decision of the Minister may submit an application requesting a formal review. The application must:

  • be made within one month after you received notice of the decision to which the application relates
  • set out in detail the grounds on which the licence holder seeks a review
  • be sent to SA Health, Health Protection & Licensing via email The subject line of your email should read: REVIEW OF TEPA LICENCE CONDITION – (your business name & licence number).

Upon receiving an application, the Minister, or his delegate, may:

  • confirm or vary the decision under review
  • reverse the decision and substitute it with another decision.

The Minister, or his delegate, will inform the licence holder of the result of the review in writing. It is important to note, that whilst a review is occurring, compliance with the TEP Act and the licence conditions is still required.

No, your licence does not need to be updated, except as otherwise required by Law (ie expiry, change of ownership). Your licence has been automatically re-issued and supplied to you with the relevant conditions reflected.

Legal disclaimer

The material and information contained on this webpage is for general information purposes only. Licensees should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decisions. Licensees should refer to their licence issued under Part 2 of the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997 and the licence conditions fixed under section 9 of the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997. Licensees should seek professional or legal advice if they have any questions regarding their obligations under the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997.

Further information

If you have any questions about your obligations under the TEP Act or CS Act, email SA Health via