E-cigarettes and vaping - what are they? | Quit Tasmania

E-cigarettes and vaping – what are they?

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes, also known as ‘vapes’, are battery operated devices that heat a liquid (e-liquid, also called ‘juice’) until it turns into an aerosol, which the user then inhales.  Using an e-cigarette is commonly known as ‘vaping’. 

Vape aerosol is not harmless water vapour. The aerosol is a fine spray of chemicals that enter the body through the lungs and small particles that can lodge in the lungs.

What’s in an e-cigarette?

An e-cigarette can contain many different chemicals – very few are identified and none have been tested to show they are safe to INHALE.  Some of these chemicals are the same chemicals as those found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray.

The aerosol can also contain heavy metals shed from the heating coil inside the device.

E-cigarettes are harmful, and just like cigarettes, e-cigarettes involve inhaling chemicals deep into the lungs over and over. 

Some of the chemicals found in aerosols can cause cancer, others can cause swelling and irritation in the throat and lungs and can impact the heart.

Can vaping lead to addiction?

Nicotine is highly addictive – it is among the most addictive substances known.  Many e-cigarettes labelled ‘nicotine-free’ are incorrectly labelled and DO in fact contain nicotine.

As e-cigarettes are often not labelled, or incorrectly labelled, it is difficult to know how much nicotine they contain.  Some e-cigarettes can contain the same amount of nicotine as 50 cigarettes.

Nicotine addiction from e-cigarettes is the same as for smokers.  This can mean feeling irritable or anxious, as well as craving an e-cigarette.

Can e-cigarettes help smokers to quit smoking?

Currently, there is not enough evidence to promote the use of e-cigarettes for stopping smoking. To date, no nicotine vaping products have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for effectiveness, quality and safety.

People who smoke, who would like to quit and are thinking about vaping, should always first discuss this with a qualified medical professional to determine whether or not e-cigarettes containing nicotine are a suitable option.

Nicotine vaping products require a prescription

Since October 2021, Australians need a prescription to legally access nicotine vaping products (nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine).  For more information go to: https://www.tga.gov.au/products/medicines/prescription-medicines/nicotine-vaping-products-hub

It is illegal for tobacconists, ‘vape’ shops and convenience stores to sell nicotine vaping products.

In Tasmania, e-cigarettes are banned in smoke-free areas.  For more information, see here.


Like more information about e-cigarettes?

Please read these Fact Sheets* below:
(Click on them to view)


Do you use e-cigarettes?

If you’d like to quit e-cigarettes, or would more information, we can support you with that.

Read here to find out how the Tasmanian Quitline 13 7848 can support you if you’d like to quit e-cigarettes.


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