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The con that kills

What about e-cigarettes?

While e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, they do contain hundreds of chemicals: some are known to be harmful to inhale and many haven’t been tested at all. People who use e-cigarettes also inhale tiny particles that lodge deep in the lungs. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, even if they don’t state it on the label. Nicotine is highly addictive.

E-cigarettes can be harmful to health and present very real dangers to children and young people. E-cigarettes can cause:

  • Lung injury ​
  • Burns and injuries
  • Seizures
  • Increased indoor air pollution​
  • Environmental waste and fires​.1-5

And, if the e-cigarette or e-liquid contains nicotine, they can cause:

  • Nicotine poisoning. Young children are most at risk and can become very sick or even die if they accidentally swallow e-liquid.​6
  • Addiction​. People who use e-cigarettes may have difficulty stopping using them and may find themselves using them more often than they think they should. People who use e-cigarettes are more likely to go on to smoke than people who don’t use e-cigarettes.7

What’s inside an e-cigarette?

E-cigarettes commonly contain propylene glycol or glycerine, and flavourings. Harmful chemicals have been found in e-liquids and e-cigarette aerosols including ones known to cause cancer such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein.2 Toxic metals such as aluminium, nickel and lead have been found in e-liquids and can be breathed in when vaping.8

New reforms in 2024

The Australian Government is introducing new reforms to vaping regulations and legislation. You can find out more at the TGA's Vaping Hub.

Want more information?

For more general information about e-cigarettes, read e-cigarettes: general information.

For information on teen vaping, visit Get the facts on vaping.

Escape the con

The best way to escape the con – and break free from nicotine addiction - is to quit smoking and vaping.

Find ideas and support today


1. Banks E, Yazidjoglou A, Brown S, et al. Electronic cigarettes and health outcomes: systematic review of global evidence. Report for the Australian Department of Health. 2022. Canberra: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.

2. National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine. Public health consequences of e-cigarettes. 2018. Washington, DC.

3. SCHEER (The Scientific Committee on Health Environmental and Emerging Risks). Scientific Opinion on electronic cigarettes. 2021.

4. Chan BS, Kiss A, McIntosh N, et al. E-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury in an adolescent. Med J Aust 2021; 215: 313-314.e311.

5. World Health Organization. Occupational Environmental Health Team. WHO Air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide: global update 2005: summary of risk assessment, (2006, accessed 19 Sep 2022).

6. National Health and Medical Research Council. CEO statement on electronic cigarettes: Plain english summary, (2022, accessed 19 Sep 2022).

7. Baenziger O, Ford L, Yazidjoglou A, et al. E-cigarette use and combustible tobacco cigarette smoking uptake among non-smokers, including relapse in former smokers: umbrella review, systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2021; 11: e045603.

8. National Health and Medical Research Council. Inhalation toxicity of non-nicotine e-cigarette constituents: risk assessments, scoping review and evidence map, (2022, accessed 19 Sep 2022).

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