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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

Want more information?

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

For information on teen vaping, read e-cigarettes and teens: what you need to know.

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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