The following is a summary of the CEO Statement. For detailed information, please check the CEO Statement tab.

The CEO Statement provides public health advice on the safety and impacts of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) based on review of the current evidence.

About e-cigarettes 

  • E-cigarettes[1] heat liquid containing chemicals (e-liquids) that users breathe in. Using an e-cigarette is also known as vaping.
  • There are many different types of e-cigarettes. The way e-cigarettes are made and used varies. This variability makes it hard to know if they are safe or if they can harm your health.

Product safety

  • E-liquids can contain nicotine (even when labelled ‘nicotine-free’) and many other chemicals. More than 200 chemicals have been detected in e-liquids. 
  • E-cigarettes can be harmful. All e-cigarette users are exposed to chemicals and toxins that can harm your health.
  • Use of e-cigarettes can result in serious burns and injuries. In some cases, these burns and injuries have resulted in death. Poor-quality e-cigarette batteries or high-power devices increase the risk of explosions that can cause serious burns and injuries.

Health effects

  • Use of e-cigarettes can result in seizures in some users. 
  • Exposure to e-liquids that contain nicotine can result in poisoning for some users which, although it may not happen to everyone, can be severe and cause death.
  • E-cigarette-related calls to Australian Poisons Information Centres have increased over the past 5 years. Most poisonings occur in toddlers and adults. 
  • Use of e-cigarettes can result in a serious and sometimes fatal lung condition known as E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) in some users. Most cases of EVALI reported in the United States of America were linked to cannabis oils and vitamin E acetate but other chemicals may also contribute to this condition.
  • Use of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine probably results in throat irritation, cough, dizziness, headaches and nausea.
  • There is not enough information from human research studies to know about the potential impacts of e-cigarette use on conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, reproductive health, respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma) and mental illness.
  • Lack of information does not mean that e-cigarettes are safe. More information is needed to know if long-term e-cigarette use is safe or if it harms your health.

Specific health effects by tobacco smoking status

In addition to the health effects listed above:

If you have never smoked tobacco cigarettes and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes

  • There are no health benefits of using e-cigarettes if you do not currently smoke tobacco cigarettes.
  • You can become addicted if you use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.

If you are a current tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes

  • You will probably experience immediate increases in heart rate and blood pressure and stiffening of the arteries if you use e-cigarettes.
  • You may become addicted to e-cigarettes if they contain nicotine and you may use e-cigarettes in excess.

If you are a former tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes

  • You may experience a decrease in blood pressure after you have switched.

E-cigarette use and uptake

  • E-cigarette use has increased in Australia since 2016. This increase has been reported across most age groups, especially among youth and young adults.
  • Teenagers are more likely to try e-cigarettes if they are exposed to e-cigarettes on social media.
  • More information is needed on what makes e-cigarettes appealing, such as flavours, packaging and price.

E-cigarette use and tobacco smoking

Tobacco smoking uptake 

If you have never smoked tobacco cigarettes and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes

  • You are more likely to try tobacco smoking  or become a tobacco smoker if you use e-cigarettes.

Tobacco smoking cessation

If you are a current tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes

  • There are other proven safe and effective options to help you quit smoking. E-cigarettes are not proven safe and effective smoking cessation aids. 
  • Short-term e-cigarette use may benefit you if you are able to quit smoking and have been previously unsuccessful with other smoking cessation aids. However, not everyone finds e-cigarettes helpful for quitting.
  • Research studies have found that it was more common for smokers to become dual users (using both e-cigarettes and tobacco products at the same time) than quit if they used nicotine e-cigarettes.
  • For some smokers, using nicotine e-cigarettes may assist them to quit; however, more research is needed to confirm the harms and benefits of using them for this purpose. 
  • For additional assistance to quit tobacco smoking or quit e-cigarettes you are encouraged to seek further information from reliable sources, such as your healthcare practitioner or quit services.

Relapse to tobacco smoking

If you are a former tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes

  • Using an e-cigarette may increase your chance of smoking relapse.

 

  1. Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS), alternative nicotine delivery systems, personal vaporisers, e-hookahs, vape pens or vapes.

 

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