Commonly asked questions and references to data sources used on this website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
People can access one on one private telephone counselling through Quitline – call 13 7848 or visit quit.org.au. 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.
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 quit.org.au.
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.
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 quit.org.au
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.