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National Health and Medical Research Council. (2022) Chemicals found in e-cigarettes. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.

PDF (NHMRC 2022 CEO statement on e-cigarettes)

NHMRC 2022 CEO Statement on E-cigarettes: E-cigarettes heat liquid containing chemicals (e-liquids) that users breathe in. Using an e-cigarette is also known as vaping. There are many different types of e-cigarettes. The way e-cigarettes are made and used varies. This variability makes it hard to know if they are safe or if they can harm your health.

Product safety
• E-liquids can contain nicotine (even when labelled ‘nicotine-free’) and many other chemicals. More than 200 chemicals have been detected in e-liquids.
• E-cigarettes can be harmful. All e-cigarette users are exposed to chemicals and toxins that can harm your health.
• Use of e-cigarettes can result in serious burns and injuries. In some cases, these burns and injuries have resulted in death. Poor-quality e-cigarette batteries or high-power devices increase the risk of explosions that can cause serious burns and injuries.

Health effects
• Use of e-cigarettes can result in seizures in some users.
• Exposure to e-liquids that contain nicotine can result in poisoning for some users which, although it may not happen to everyone, can be severe and cause death. 
• E-cigarette-related calls to Australian Poisons Information Centres have increased over the past 5 years. Most poisonings occur in toddlers and adults.
• Use of e-cigarettes can result in a serious and sometimes fatal lung condition known as E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) in some users. Most cases of EVALI reported in the United States of America were linked to cannabis oils and vitamin E acetate, but other chemicals may also contribute to this condition.
• Use of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine probably results in throat irritation, cough, dizziness, headaches and nausea.
• There is not enough information from human research studies to know about the potential impacts of e-cigarette use on conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, reproductive health, respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma) and mental illness.
• Lack of information does not mean that e-cigarettes are safe. More information is needed to know if long-term e-cigarette use is safe or if it harms your health.

Specific health effects by tobacco smoking status
In addition to the health effects listed above:
If you have never smoked tobacco cigarettes and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes
• There are no health benefits of using e-cigarettes if you do not currently smoke tobacco cigarettes.
• You can become addicted if you use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. 
If you are a current tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes
• You will probably experience immediate increases in heart rates and blood pressure and stiffening of the arteries if you use e-cigarettes.
• You may become addicted to e-cigarettes if they contain nicotine and you may use e-cigarettes in excess.
If you are a former tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes
• You may experience a decrease in blood pressure after you have switched.

E-cigarette use and uptake
• E-cigarette use has increased in Australia since 2016. This increase has been reported across most age groups, especially among youth and young adults.
• Teenagers are more likely to try e-cigarettes if they are exposed to e-cigarettes on social media.
• More information is needed on what makes e-cigarettes appealing, such as flavours, packaging and price.

E-cigarette use and tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking uptake
If you have never smoked tobacco cigarettes and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes
• You are more likely to try tobacco smoking or become a tobacco smoker if you use e-cigarettes.

Tobacco smoking cessation
If you are a current tobacco smoker and you use or are thinking of using e-cigarettes
• There are other proven safe and effective options to help you quit smoking. E-cigarettes are not proven safe and effective smoking cessation aids.
• Short-term e-cigarette use may benefit you if you are able to quit smoking and have been previously unsuccessful with other smoking cessation aids. However, not everyone finds e-cigarettes helpful for quitting. 
• Research studies have found that it was more common for smokers to become dual users (using both e-cigarettes and tobacco products at the same time) than quit if they used nicotine e-cigarettes.
• For some smokers, using nicotine e-cigarettes may assist them to quit; however, more research is needed to confirm the harms and benefits of using them for this purpose.
• For additional assistance to quit tobacco smoking or quit e-cigarettes you are encouraged to seek further information from reliable sources, such as your healthcare practitioner or quit services.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Guideline, Report
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
23 June 2022
12 p.
National Health and Medical Research Council
Corporate Creators
National Health and Medical Research Council
Place of Publication

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