Be aware of what you're putting in your body
Vaping can seem like it's a better option than smoking, but the substances found in vapes should be taken seriously.
Vaping refers to the use of e-cigarettes or “vapes”. Vapes are lithium battery-powered devices that heat liquids to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.
Vapes come in many shapes and sizes and may look like traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes, or may resemble everyday items like pens, highlighters or USB memory sticks. They also come in a variety of colours and flavours such as blueberry or bubble gum that make them appealing. However, they also contain large amounts of nicotine, the same highly addictive substance found in tobacco cigarettes, and the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray to name a few.
Did you know?
- The nicotine in 1 vape can = 50 cigarettes
- If you vape you are 3 times as likely to take up smoking cigarettes
- Vaping has been linked to serious lung disease
- Vape aerosol is not water vapour. The main ingredient in vapes is propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine or glycerol
- Vapes can contain the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray
Vaping - respect your brain
What are you vaping?
Vapes contain large amounts of nicotine, a highly addictive drug that acts as a poison if swallowed and has the potential to make the user seriously ill, or in some cases, cause death.
100% of vapes are incorrectly labelled as none of them disclose the full list of harmful chemicals, and most vapes that claim to be nicotine-free, actually contain high levels of nicotine.
There is also a common misconception that vaping is merely harmless water vapour — in fact, it’s an aerosol made up of tiny toxic particles and over 200 harmful chemical compounds, some of which are known to cause cancer, including:
Found in weed killer
Found in car exhaust fumes
Found in rat poison
Found in batteries
Found in preservatives in morgues
Found in gasoline
Found in bleach
Found in hospital-grade disinfectant
Found in aviation fuel
Found in paint stripper
As vapes are relatively new and haven’t been studied over a long period of time, it is impossible to say they are safer than cigarettes. The health risks associated with vaping remain uncertain, but they cannot be considered safe. Both vapes and cigarettes have health risks and are unsafe and dangerous to use. The safest approach is to not use either.
While the long-term health effects are still relatively unknown, we do know that vaping in the short-term has been associated with nausea, vomiting, mouth and airway irritation, chest pain and heart palpitations. The other associated health risks include:
Physical health risks
- Mouth and airway irritation
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Increased risk of lung infections
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of obstructive lung diseases such as asthma
Mental health risks
- Stress and irritability
- Feelings of anxiety
- Higher risk of depression
- Impaired brain development
- Impaired memory and concentration
Laws around vaping
In NSW, it is illegal for anyone to buy (or have) a vape with nicotine without a prescription from a doctor. People who are 18 or over can buy vapes that do not contain nicotine.
If you are under 18, it is illegal for someone to sell you any kind of e-cigarette (it doesn’t matter if it contains nicotine, or not). It is also illegal for someone who is aged 18 or over to buy a vape for you.
Learn more about the laws around vaping on the NSW Health : e-cigarettes page.
Vaping and young people
Vaping among young Australians has increased dramatically in recent years, and research shows it is becoming more popular among children and adolescents even though it is illegal except on prescription.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, e-cigarette use by Australians aged 14 or older has more than doubled from 2016 to 2019 and is most common among smokers aged 18–24.
Young people are attracted to vaping as e-cigarettes are designed to appeal to young people with their sweet flavourings and bright colours.
Social media has also been found to play a role as both an information source and as a means of exposure to e-cigarette advertising in Australia that glamourises vaping. The use of vapes by social media influencers and viral trends involving vapes has also led to a steady rise in vaping among young people.
Dealing with peer pressure
It can be hard to say no to your friends, but you should put yourself first and only do things that you feel comfortable with.
It may help to have a reason or two to tell your friends why you don't want to vape. You could say:
- 'No, vaping gives me headaches and makes me feel sick'
- 'I'm focused on my footy and I don't want vaping getting in the way'
Saying no and setting boundaries can be difficult, but each time it will get easier. Remember, each time you have FOMO when it comes to vaping, the only thing you're actually missing out on are nasty health consequences and a looming nicotine addiction.
Check out this video and hear what NRL players from the New Zealand Warriors have to say.
Signs of addiction and how to quit
Signs of addiction
- Cravings, or feeling like you really need to vape
- Going out of your way to get a vape
- Feeling anxious or irritable
- Continuing to vape because you find it hard to stop
- Having trouble sleeping
- Depressed mood
- Hunger or food cravings
Know why you’re quitting
There are many good reasons to quit vaping. Do you want to feel healthier? Save money? Not be controlled by addiction? Knowing why you want to quit vaping can help you stay motivated and focused on your goal to become vape-free.
Commit to your quit
- Give yourself time to get ready
- Don’t put it off for too long
- Set yourself up for success
Create a personalised quit plan to help you stay confident and motivated in your quitting journey. Having a plan for handling the tough times can help you stay on track and increases your chances of quitting successfully.
Know what challenges to expect
Imagine your vape-free self
- Make the mental shift
- Focus on the positive
- Picture the future you
Build your team
- Ask for help
- Be specific: Tell your family and friends what type of support you want
- Say thank you: Tell your support team you appreciate them
- Support others: Check in with your friend and ask them how you can help
- Talk to a professional: talk to a doctor or another health care professional about how to quit vaping or talk to a cessation counsellor
Where to get support
External Contact Information
Emergency contact: 000
Quitline: 13 7448
Aboriginal Quitline: 13 7448
Poisons Centre: 13 11 26
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800