How to Prepare for the Australian E-Liquid Import Ban
Given the uncertain times in which we presently live, you could be forgiven if your continued ability to buy e-liquid isn’t exactly the first thing on your mind right now. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read about the latest vaping news in Australia, though, Health Minister Greg Hunt dropped a bombshell that requires your response if you want to avoid a sudden interruption in your supply of e-liquid with nicotine.
Effective on 1st January 2021, Minister Hunt wants to implement a ban on private shipments of nicotine e-liquid into Australia. Hunt’s proposed ban was originally scheduled to take place on 1st July, but significant public outrage – and backlash from MPs who weren’t given the opportunity to debate the proposal – forced Hunt to delay his plans by six months.
If the e-liquid import ban is implemented as planned on 1st January, it will become illegal for you to import nicotine e-liquid into Australia from the vendor of your choice as you currently do – even if you have a prescription. Hunt’s proposal will restrict the importation and distribution of nicotine e-liquid, limiting those activities solely to doctors and pharmacies who possess the required permits. You will no longer be able to order e-liquid yourself and have it shipped to you; you’ll need to obtain it from a medical professional.
So, what does Australia’s e-liquid import ban mean for you? It means that you need to govern yourself with the knowledge that, in six months, you’ll no longer be able to buy e-liquid with nicotine unless you go through the health system. Even if you decide to jump through the necessary hoops to buy vape juice, the e-liquid that you’ll get will most likely differ significantly from what you’re buying now.
The good news is that there is significant opposition to the import ban in the Australian Parliament. Many MPs correctly believe that making vape juice more difficult to buy is not the right decision for the health of Australia’s citizens. Nevertheless, you must behave as if the ban will go through because you won’t get a second chance to prepare.
So, what should you do with the knowledge that you’ll no longer be able to buy your usual vape juice from your usual sources in 2021? Here’s what we suggest.
Reduce Your Nicotine Intake
While you can still buy whatever e-liquid you like, the first thing that you should do is start lowering your nicotine consumption right away. Simultaneously, you’ll build a stockpile of nicotine so that, when the ban hits, you’ll have a supply that will last a while. The less nicotine you need, the longer your supply will last.
Your goal is to reduce the nicotine strength of the e-liquid you use without switching to a new vaping device with higher vapour production. If you switch to a more powerful vaping setup, the fact that you’re reducing your nicotine strength won’t really be relevant because you’ll be using more e-liquid.
- If you’re using a pre-filled or refillable pod system with a nicotine strength of 50-60 mg, switch to the next lower nicotine strength (usually 20-30 mg).
- If you’re using a small vape pen with a nicotine strength of around 18 mg, the next lower nicotine strength is usually around 16 mg.
- If you’re using a sub-ohm mod with a nicotine strength of 6 mg, the next lower nicotine strength is 3 mg.
- If you’re using a nicotine strength of 3 mg, most e-liquid makers don’t make anything lower than that. Mix a 3 mg e-liquid with a nicotine-free e-liquid in a 50-50 ratio, and you’ll have e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 1.5 mg.
Working as gradually as possible to avoid a sudden shock to your system, reduce the nicotine strength of your e-liquid as much as you can so that, when the ban hits, you’ll be using much less nicotine than you currently do.
Buy Nicotine Shots and Shortfill E-Liquids
While you’re reducing your nicotine intake, you’ll want to simultaneously buy as much e-liquid as you can – within the legal limits, of course – so you’ll have a stock available when Australia’s e-liquid import ban hits. There are two ways of building up a stock of nicotine, and we’ll begin with the easier of the two.
In Europe, there’s a strict limitation on the maximum allowable size of a bottle of e-liquid with nicotine. The maximum size is 10 ml. To get around that rule, many European e-liquid manufacturers make what’s called shortfill e-liquid. A shortfill e-liquid is a large bottle of nicotine-free e-liquid – since it has no nicotine, the size limit doesn’t apply – with at least 10 ml of empty space at the top. You can buy shortfill e-liquid near you from places like Sydney vape shop Ivanna Vape.
The most common bottle size for shortfill e-liquid is 60 ml. A 60 ml shortfill bottle contains 50 ml of nicotine-free e-liquid. You add a nicotine shot – containing 10 ml of flavourless e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 18 mg – to create a final nicotine strength of 3 mg. Shortfill e-liquid with a bottle size of 120 ml – requiring two nicotine shots – is also common.
So, shortfill e-liquid presents the easiest way to prepare for the e-liquid import ban. Just buy as many nicotine shots – or large bottles of flavourless e-liquid at the 18 mg nicotine strength – as you can. When the ban hits, you can buy shortfill e-liquid at any local vape shop and add your own nicotine.
Buy Bulk Nicotine and Make Your Own E-Liquid
The other way in which you can prepare for the e-liquid import ban is by buying as much high-strength bulk nicotine as you can and making your own e-liquid. Bulk nicotine comes in large bottles and extremely high nicotine strengths of 100 mg and higher. You’ll use it to make your own e-liquid, and since it’s so potent, you can conserve your supply by using just a little at a time.
Making your own vape juice might initially feel like a daunting task – but thankfully, there are plenty of websites and forums with tutorials that can help you get started in the world of DIY e-liquid. If you search, you might even find a copycat recipe that allows you to make a clone of your favourite vape juice.
When the ban hits, most of the ingredients needed for DIY e-liquid making – vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol and flavouring agents – will remain perfectly legal to purchase. Nicotine is the only thing that you won’t be able to import. So, by importing a large supply of bulk nicotine now, you can simply switch to DIY e-liquid making with the assurance that you’ll be able to make your own vape juice for quite some time before your supply of nicotine begins to dwindle.