We should get a couple of things out of the way before we dive into it:
- It is not legal for anyone, anywhere in Australia, for any reason whatsoever, to supply you with nicotine. If they do so, both the supplier (them) and the buyer (you) are potentially facing a large fine. It may seem easier to get nicotine via the black market, but it’s not worth the risk.
- Laws regarding use of nicotine differ from one state to the next. With regulations coming into effect across Australia, we advise that you seek out clarification of the laws in your state.
So why can’t you walk into your local vape shop and buy nicotine? As we’ve discussed previously in our in-depth look at e-liquid ingredients, “What’s in your e-juice?”:
If you choose to use nicotine in your liquids in Australia, you’ll need to import it for personal use. Nicotine itself is listed as a Schedule 7 Dangerous Poison, and as such is not available for sale within the country.
Why is it available in cigarettes, you ask? There’s exemptions in Australian law allowing the sale of nicotine “in preparations for human therapeutic use or in tobacco prepared and packed for smoking”.
Since electronic cigarettes are not an accepted smoking cessation device, there’s currently no exemption that exists for the sale of nicotine for this purpose.
With that (completely non-expert, non-legal) information out of the way, let’s start our discussion.
What benefit does nicotine provide?
If you’re not transitioning away from smoking, it’s unlikely that nicotine is going to provide you with any measurable benefit. We would generally advise against using it in your liquid.
That said, many argue that there are benefits to using nicotine. These include a lower rate of Parkinson’s disease (and possibly Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD and schizophrenia), and as a possible way to enhance blood flow to the extremities for patients with diabetes.
Some of the positive cognitive side effects of nicotine use include documented cases of increased short-term memory, attention and alertness, and psychomotor speed (the ability to detect and respond to rapid changes in the environment).
Increased short-term memory, attention and alertness sound pretty good, right? But ask any smoker – I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t list these as personal traits they’re aware of about themselves.
What health issues come from using nicotine?
As Professor Polosa stated at the First Global Forum on Nicotine in 2014:
Nicotine is not the reason for smoking-related disease: officially it is not a carcinogen, it does not cause lung cancer, [and] it has minimal effect on cardiovascular disease.
Scientific American magazine wrote an article about the vastly different opinions surrounding the use of nicotine in electronic cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking. It’s important to understand that studies are still ongoing, they’re often contradictory, and there’s probably never going to be universal agreement.
The possibility that people can be addicted to nicotine, but not die from it, is at the heart of a growing debate in the scientific community. Scientists don’t doubt nicotine is addictive, but some wonder if a daily dose could be as benign as the caffeine many of us get from a morning coffee.
Cautious opinions about nicotine state that significant side effects may be present. These include an increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal disorders; decreased immune response; and that it affects tumor proliferation and metastasis in cancer patients, and causes resistance to chemo and radio therapeutic agents.
These possible side effects are why we always err on the side of caution when someone comes to us looking to start vaping with nicotine when they’ve never been a smoker. If you’re an entrenched smoker, already addicted to nicotine, studies show that vaping is at least 95% safer than continuing to smoke.
How do I get nicotine into my liquid?
You’ll have to import nicotine from overseas if you want to vape it in your liquid, and we’ll discuss exactly how to do that in a minute.
Before we get to that, however, you should be aware of the Australian system of Singlers and Doublers. This is how juices are sold in Australia. A Singler is a full, ready-to-vape bottle of liquid which does not contain nicotine. A Doubler is a half-filled bottle designed to be mixed with nicotine, and then filled to the top with propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG).
For more information about this, check out our previous blog post “What are Doublers and Singlers?”.
Okay, so where can I buy nicotine?
As we stated earlier, it’s illegal to supply nicotine in Australia, and you risk a large fine by doing so. However, it is legal to import nicotine into Australia from overseas.
We would generally recommend importing your nicotine from either New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States. Stay away from buying nicotine from China, where laws regarding safe mixing procedures for chemicals are not as stringent.
There are many places to buy nicotine, however we usually recommend our customers go through Mixology Vapes in New Zealand. Their nicotine is of high quality, and they ship fast to Australia. On top of that, it’s very affordable, available in decent quantities and at a high strength.
We have partnered with Mixology Vapes to bring our customers an exclusive discount code which will give them 25% off their nicotine order. Simply use the code TVS at checkout to apply the discount.
How do I mix the nicotine?
Unfortunately it may not be possible for you to pop into your local vape shop to get the nicotine mixed into your juices. If that’s the case, follow these simple guidelines to mix to your preferred strength.
(This information is based on 100mg/ml nicotine, which is a high strength mix which will last you for some time. When not in use, keep your nicotine in the freezer. We recommend you choose the PG base for your nicotine solution.)
- Low: 3mg – add 0.9ml to a 30ml bottle
- Medium: 6mg - add 1.8ml to a 30ml bottle
- High: 9mg - add 2.7ml to a 30ml bottle
- Extra High: 12mg – add 3.6ml to a 30ml bottle
Adjust these amounts for different bottle sizes, e.g. double the above numbers for 60ml bottles.
The rest of the bottle needs to be filled with unflavoured PG / VG. DO NOT fill up your entire Doubler with nicotine; this will be way too strong.
Be careful when mixing nicotine. Nicotine in high mg/ml strengths is very harmful, so it’s best to stick to an absolute maximum of 100 mg/ml when mixing, and use protective gear including gloves and eye protection when handling. Skin contact should be avoided, and ingestion is a no-no. Handled properly, nicotine can be mixed easily and accurately with a syringe, but if in doubt please always contact an expert or your local vape shop.
We hope this article has answered some of the questions you may have about nicotine, and about using and mixing nicotine into your e-liquids. If you’ve found it helpful, please click the link below to tweet it.Let's talk about nicotine: How to import nicotine into Australia, and mix it into your e-liquids. Click To Tweet