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Commonly asked questions about e-cigarettes and vaping, and references to data sources used on this website.

Common questions about e-cigarettes and vaping

How unsafe are e-cigarettes ('vapes')?

E-cigarettes ('vapes') contain chemicals such as nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavourings.

E-cigarettes also contain many chemicals considered to be hazardous. These include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, which are known causes of cancer. Some chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols can cause DNA damage.

The long-term effects of vaping are unknown, therefore the safety of vaping cannot be guaranteed.

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How can I keep my child safe from vapes?

Talk to them about e-cigarettes early on… Just as you might talk to young people about alcohol and other drugs, or keeping safe on the internet, it’s a good idea to include e-cigarettes as part of that conversation. Ask your child to research e-cigarettes together as you both may not know a lot about e-cigarettes. There’s lots of useful information on this site and links to other resources.

I think my child is vaping. What should I do?

If you are worried that your child is vaping, your first impulse may be to tell them all the risks or to punish them. Instead take a deep breath and plan how to communicate. Be curious – “What do you think about vaping?”. If they tell you they have tried it, thank them for telling you and ask about their experience – “How did you find it?”

Aim to keep the conversations positive and try not to judge or lecture them.

Share how you feel in a simple open way about the behaviour – “When you vape, I worry about your health. I would like to help you work out what you want to do about vaping.”

If they say they have not tried it, share how you feel in a simple open way. “I know some kids are trying vaping. If you do try it, I would want to know so we can talk about it.” Look out for changes in behaviour for signs of nicotine dependence.

What are signs of nicotine withdrawal?

If you’re noticing changes in the young person’s behaviour within a 30-60min window (as they may not been able to vape during this time) it is highly likely they are experiencing nicotine withdrawals.

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My child doesn’t think they are vaping nicotine. How can we identify if the e-cigarette they are using contains nicotine?

The labels on most vapes don't necessarily accurately describe what’s in them. Several studies have found that over 80% of e-cigarette labels that say they don’t contain nicotine do, in fact, contain nicotine. It is reasonable to assume that anyone finding themselves addicted to vaping is inhaling nicotine.

My child is addicted to vaping. What supports exist to help them?

People can access one-on-one private telephone counselling through Quitline. Quitline counsellors can talk with them about their experiences and offer guidance and support.

There are many ways to contact Quitline:

  • Call 13 7848 Mon - Fri 8am to 8pm
  • Text 'call back' to 0482 090 634
  • Webchat at
  • Message us on Facebook Messenger @quitvic or WhatsApp: +61 385 832 920
  • Request a call back using the online form at

Your GP can also provide invaluable support tailored to the individual. It’s worth also visiting the Resources page on this website to read up about information on e-cigarettes.

Who can I talk to about my child vaping?

Quitline can talk with you about your concerns, provide advice on what you can do as a parent or carer, and guide you on how you can start a conversation with your teen.

There are many ways to contact Quitline:

  • Call 13 7848 Mon - Fri 8am to 8pm
  • Text 'call back' to 0482 090 634
  • Webchat at
  • Message us on Facebook Messenger @quitvic or WhatsApp: +61 385 832 920
  • Request a call back using the online form at

You can also visit our ‘Start the conversation’ section of this site for more information.

My child has tried to quit vaping several times but the withdrawal is too hard. How can I help them?

Continue with calm conversations using open communication techniques and asking curious questions. Try to understand that it may be difficult for the young person addicted to vaping talk about their dependency on nicotine. It may help to regularly suggest they speak with Quitline counsellors who understand the challenges with stopping vaping. You could also chat to your GP or consult other Resources on this website.

I’m a teacher looking for guidance on how to talk to my students about vaping. Where can I find this?

See the new resource ‘Seeing Through the Haze’, designed for use in schools to build health literacies, prevent vaping uptake and maintain low smoking prevalence among young people.

Are tobacco companies behind vapes?

Yes, some of the largest tobacco companies have been investing in and developing e-cigarette products for many years. Vaping has been described by many as the resurgence of the tobacco industry.

I have noticed my child is anxious since they have starting vaping. Is this normal?

The dependency on e-cigarettes (especially nicotine) can be very powerful. Not having an e-cigarette can be stressful and can lead to anxiety. Nicotine can amplify stress and anxiety as well as increase symptoms of depression. Support is available through Quitline to stop. Call 13 7848 or visit

A young person in my life thinks vaping is nowhere near as harmful as smoking. Are they correct?

It took many decades of evidence-based research to understand the full extent of the health harms of smoking cigarettes. Research into vaping and e-cigarettes is still emerging. We do know that over 200 chemicals have been found in e-cigarette liquids. Many of these are hazardous, including those found in weed killer, bug spray and even paint thinner.

A person who vapes regularly may inhale these chemicals into their lungs many times a day, every day, for many years. The long-term effects of exposure to these chemicals in this way are not yet known. The only thing your lungs should be breathing in is fresh air.

Vaping can cause seizures, lung injury and facial damage (from exploding vapes). The nicotine in vapes may impair brain development in young people. It’s possible that vaping may worsen mood disorders, reduce concentration and interrupt sleep in those addicted. The long-term effects of vaping won’t be known for many years.

Website References

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  2. NHMRC CEO statement Visit Site
  3. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Testing of nicotine vaping products. Australian Government, Department of Health, 2022. Visit Site
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. View PDF
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  14. National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). Non-nicotine liquids for e-cigarette devices in Australia: chemistry and health concern. Australian Government Department of Health, 2019. View PDF
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Last updated January 2024

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