E-cigarettes are battery operated devices designed to feel similar to cigarettes. Instead of burning tobacco, they heat e-liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale deep into the lungs. While this is mistakenly referred to as vapour, this aerosol contains many harmful chemicals linked to cancer risk as well as other chronic conditions such as damage to the lungs and oral disease.

Although the import and sale of nicotine containing e-cigarettes and e-liquids without a prescription was made illegal in Australia from January 2021, illegal sales by retailers and mislabelling of nicotine containing products is common, with data suggesting around 60% of e-liquids that claim not to contain nicotine actually do.

There is no long-term evidence to suggest that the use of e-cigarettes is a safe and effective way to help people to quit smoking. In fact, there is evidence that e-cigarette use increases the likelihood of taking up tobacco smoking, especially in teens and young adults, and that those who relapse to smoking after e-cigarette use are likely to smoke more than they did previously.

To best understand how to quit e-cigarettes, or to find a safer alternative to quit smoking, contact Quitline on 13 7848.