Skip to main content
Icon Vape hand


Commonly asked questions and references to data sources used on this website.

Common questions

How unsafe are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals such as nicotine, propylene glycol or glycerine, and flavourings along with hazardous substances of which formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein which are known to cause cancer. Some chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols can cause DNA damage.

How can I keep my child safe from e-cigarettes?

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. Instead take a deep breath and make a plan for 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 withdrawal.

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.

Learn more at

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

E-cigarettes are not currently regulated, and the labels do not necessarily accurately describe what’s in them. Several studies have found that up to 70% of e-cigarette labels that say they don’t contain nicotine actually do 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 – call 13 7848 or visit Quitline contact channels online include WhatsApp. Facebook Messenger, Request a Call Back service or live chat. 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 counsellors can guide you on how to have a conversation with your children about vaping. Visit our ‘Start the conversation’ section of this site to get started, and contact Quitline on 13 7848 or online via

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?

Refer to the Quit website - E-cigarettes and teens: what you need to know articles or contact the Quitline on 13 7848 online via

Are tobacco companies behind e-cigarettes?

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 e-cigarette liquids contain up to 200 chemicals, many of them toxic and contained in weed killer, bug spray and even paint thinner. Vaping has been linked to seizures, impeded brain development in young people, lung injury and facial damage (from exploding e-cigarettes), exacerbation of mood disorders, inability to concentrate and interrupted sleep. The only thing your lungs should be breathing in is fresh air.

Website References

  1. National Health and Medical Research Council. Inhalation toxicity of non-nicotine e-cigarette constituents: risk assessments, scoping review and evidence map. 2022. View PDF
  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
  5. England LJ, Bunnell RE, Pechacek TF, Tong VT, and McAfee TA. Nicotine and the developing human: a neglected element in the electronic cigarette debate. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2015; 49(2):286–93. Visit Site
  6. Banks E, Yazidjoglou A, Brown S, Nguyen M, Martin M, et al. Electronic cigarettes and health outcomes: systematic review of global evidence. Report for the Australian Department of Health. Canberra: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, 2022. Visit Site
  7. Wang X, Lee NL, and Burstyn I. Smoking and use of electronic cigarettes (vaping) in relation to preterm birth and small-for-gestational-age in a 2016 U.S. national sample. Preventive Medicine, 2020; 134:106041. Visit Site
  8. Cardenas VM, Cen R, Clemens MM, Moody HL, Ekanem US, et al. Use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by pregnant women I: risk of small-for-gestational-age birth. Tobacco Induced Diseases, 2019; 17:44. Visit Site
  9. Kim S and Oancea SC. Electronic cigarettes may not be a "safer alternative" of conventional cigarettes during pregnancy: evidence from the nationally representative PRAMS data. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2020; 20(1):557. Visit Site
  10. Regan AK, Bombard JM, O'Hegarty MM, Smith RA, and Tong VT. Adverse birth outcomes associated with prepregnancy and prenatal electronic cigarette use. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2021; 138(1):85-94. Visit Site
  11. PubMed E-cigarette use and combustible tobacco cigarette smoking uptake among non-smokers, including relapse in former smokers: umbrella review, systematic review and meta-analysis Visit Site
  12. Chivers E, Janka M, Franklin P, Mullins B, and Larcombe A. Nicotine and other potentially harmful compounds in "nicotine-free" e-cigarette liquids in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 2019; 210(3):127–8. Visit Site
  13. Larcombe A, Allard S, Pringle P, Mead-Hunter R, Anderson N, et al. Chemical analysis of fresh and aged Australian e-cigarette liquids. Medical Journal of Australia, 2022; 216(1):27-32. Visit Site
  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
  15. Section 18.5 of Facts and Issues Visit Site
  16. Ingebrethsen BJ, Cole SK, and Alderman SL. Electronic cigarette aerosol particle size distribution measurements. Inhal Toxicol, 2012; 24(14):976-84. Visit Site
  17. Mikheev VB, Brinkman MC, Granville CA, Gordon SM, and Clark PI. Real-time measurement of electronic cigarette aerosol size distribution and metals content analysis. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2016; 18(9):1895-902. Visit Site
  18. Manigrasso M, Buonanno G, Fuoco FC, Stabile L, and Avino P. Aerosol deposition doses in the human respiratory tree of electronic cigarette smokers. Environmental Pollution, 2015; 196:257-67. Visit Site
  19. PubMed Variations in coil temperature/power and e-liquid constituents change size and lung deposition of particles emitted by an electronic cigarette Visit Site
  20. PubMed Influence of the E-Cigarette Emission Profile by the Ratio of Glycerol to Propylene Glycol in E-Liquid Composition Visit Site
  21. PubMed Systemic biomarkers of exposure associated with ENDS use: a scoping review Visit Site
  22. NIH Nicotine Chemistry, Metabolism, Kinetics and Biomarkers Visit Site
  23. Generation Vape Visit Site
  24. Benowitz NL. Nicotine addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 2010; 362(24):2295–303. Visit Site
  25. McNeill AD. The development of dependence on smoking in children. British Journal of Addiction, 1991; 86(5):589–92. Visit Site
  26. O'Loughlin J, DiFranza J, Tyndale RF, Meshefedjian G, McMillan-Davey E, et al. Nicotine-dependence symptoms are associated with smoking frequency in adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2003; 25(3):219–25. Visit Site
  27. Doubeni CA, Reed G, and Difranza JR. Early course of nicotine dependence in adolescent smokers. Pediatrics, 2010; 125(6):1127–33. Visit Site
Back to top of page