The sale of e-cigarettes to minors will be outlawed, their use in cars with children present will be banned and marketing of the controversial devices will be overhauled after stringent new laws passed the NSW Parliament.

But e-cigarettes can still be used in enclosed spaces such as cafes and on public transport after the government refused a push by the Greens and Labor to have the devices treated like tobacco.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices in which a fruit-flavoured vapour is heated and inhaled, or “vaped”. About 70 per cent contain nicotine.

The legislation passed by the NSW upper house on Wednesday night bans the sale of electronic cigarettes and accessories to minors and prohibits people from procuring the devices on a minor’s behalf.

The Parliament also accepted an amendment by the Greens to ban e-cigarette use in a car if a child is present and an amendment by Labor to regulate their sale, packaging, advertising and display.

As Fairfax Media has reported, electronic cigarettes are being sold next to confectionery items in convenience stores and tobacconists.

The NSW government had put the bill on hold after MPs were approached by a lobby firm representing big tobacco companies, which are increasingly moving into the e-cigarette market.

Greens health spokesman Jeremy Buckingham, who inhaled an e-cigarette in the NSW upper house in May to highlight what he says are loopholes, said he was pleased with the stronger laws, but said the parliament should have gone further.

“Tobacco smokers who want to switch to e-cigarettes will still be allowed to do this, but aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at making e-cigarettes attractive and re-normalising smoking will now be banned,” he said.

“Unfortunately … it is still legal to smoke an e-cigarette on public transport or in a cafe, in a school, or even in the parliamentary chamber.”

Labor’s health spokesman Walt Secord praised the government for seeing merit in his party’s amendments, adding “we’ll have genuine e-cigarette regulations in place rather than the minimalist model that was proposed.”

Extracted in full from the Sydney Morning Herald.