A man has been fined $2500 for selling banned electronic cigarettes at a university, Queensland’s health department says.

A Cairns man fined for selling electronic cigarettes is the first person in the state to be prosecuted for trading the products.

The man was charged with the possession and advertising of liquid nicotine after putting up posters selling the product at a university, a Queensland Health spokeswoman said.

He appeared in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Thursday and was fined $2500 after reportedly pleading guilty.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says the man is the first in the state to be prosecuted under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation Act for selling banned e-cigarettes.

The fine sends a clear message that the products are highly dangerous and illegal, she says.

“Products containing liquid nicotine continue to be illegally sold and used in Queensland,” she said in a statement.

In Queensland liquid nicotine is classed as a regulated poison and restrictions are imposed on it, including its possession, use, advertising and sale.

Items that resemble cigarettes are also banned.

Dr Young said people needed to be aware that e-cigarettes were not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia.

They can deliver unreliable doses of nicotine, leak, contain toxic chemicals or may not be packaged properly.

While some claim e-cigarettes are an effective cessation aid, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health has said some research shows they can normalise a practice that is increasingly frowned upon and encourage young people to smoke the real thing.