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Health and safety risks

E-cigarettes are highly addictive and harmful to health. Learn more.

Many e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine, even though it’s not stated on the label. (2) Nicotine use by young people can have a damaging effect on brain development.(4,5)

E-cigarettes ('vapes') can explode or catch fire, causing burns and injuries that can be fatal.(6)

There are signs of reduced lung function in some people who use e-cigarettes. These people may be at higher risk of lung disease in the future.

Vaping during pregnancy may harm the developing baby.(6,7,8,9,10)

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E-cigarettes pose health risks to young people. They contain chemicals that are known to cause cancer or lung damage.(1)

Source: National Health and Medical Research Council

Learn what's inside a vape

Vaping can cause addiction

  • Many e-cigarettes ('vapes') contain nicotine(3), which is highly additive(24,25)
  • Teens become more easily and rapidly addicted to nicotine than adults(26,27)
  • Nicotine harms the way a teenage brain grows(4,5), which may affect memory and concentration
  • Most vapes and e-liquids in Australia contain nicotine, even though it’s not stated on the label(3)
  • People who use vapes are more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes(6)

Read more about vaping dependence.

If you would like to learn more about quitting vaping, see Tips to quit vaping.

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"I think my child is addicted to vaping? What can I do?"

Find out what you can do

Vapes have safety risks

  • Vapes can explode or catch fire. Burns and injuries from vapes can be fatal.
  • Burns and injuries most commonly occur on faces and around the genitals (when vapes are kept in pockets)
  • E-liquids are poisonous if swallowed. Nicotine poisoning causes seizures that can be fatal.(6)

Vapes come with health risks

  • Many of the chemicals in vapes have health risks. These include chemicals that are known causes of cancer, heart disease or lung disease(1)
  • There are signs of lung function(6) problems in some people who vape. These people may be at higher risk of lung disease in the future
  • Vaping during pregnancy may harm the developing baby
  • There is some evidence that babies whose mothers vaped during pregnancy have a higher risk of low weight at birth(8,9,10)
  • The health effects of e-cigarettes for tobacco smokers include nausea, headache, throat irritation, cough, dizziness, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure(6)
In the past, e-cigarettes have caused a serious lung disease called EVALI. Many people have died from EVALI.

People who smoke who also vape may suffer from:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Headache, nausea and dizziness
  • Throat irritation and cough.(6)

Last updated February 2024

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