Authorities have seized more than 5,300 nicotine electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from retailers on the Central Coast.

In a recent blitz, officers from NSW Health’s Tobacco Control Unit inspected four service stations and one convenience store resulting in more than $130,000 worth of illegal vaping devices being seized and destroyed.

Compliance officers were responding to concerns about the supply of the illegal devices from tobacconists, convenience stores and petrol stations on the Central Coast.

The sale of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine is illegal in NSW, while it is illegal to sell any type of e-cigarette to children under 18 years of age, whether the device contains nicotine or not.

Central Coast Local Health District is warning anyone selling nicotine e-cigarettes they face fines of up to $1,100 per offence or even prosecution.

“We are concerned about the sale of these products locally, in particular to young people under the age of 18,” Director of Health Promotion and Population Health Improvement Niki Kajons said.

“Despite their appealing flavours, most e-cigarettes contain chemicals and toxins that are not only harmful, but also highly addictive.

“It is important that local retailers are aware of their legal obligations that are in place to help protect the health and wellbeing of people on the Central Coast, otherwise they will face penalties.”

Despite being illegal, NSW Health has seen an increase in the number of new e-cigarette products that contain nicotine being sold.

NSW Health inspectors routinely monitor and enforce compliance with the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 and the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008, including through inspections at retailers.

NSW Health has increased the number of inspectors with powers to seize e-cigarettes and both NSW Health and Central Coast Local Health District have written to retailers in NSW reminding them of their obligations under the law.

Members of the public can report possible breaches of tobacco and e-cigarette retailing laws such as selling e-cigarettes to minors or selling e-cigarettes containing nicotine, by completing the online reporting form or call the toll-free Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412.

The NSW Government is committed to reducing the prevalence of smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes. In 2020–21, the NSW Ministry of Health and Cancer Institute NSW invested $17.3 million on tobacco and e-cigarette control.

This includes public awareness and education campaigns, quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of strong smoke-free and retailing laws, and targeted programs for vulnerable groups with high smoking rates.

More information on e-cigarettes and young people, as well as for retailers is available on the NSW Health website.