Growing use of e-cigarettes

The use of e-cigarettes among young people is a growing concern on the Central Coast and indeed across all of Australia. That’s why we launched our Say No to Vaping campaign.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the health risks young people are exposing themselves to by using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

A collection of vapes in various colours.
A young girl coughing.

The problem

E-cigarettes are not only addictive, but also contain or produce harmful chemicals and toxins that can cause some of the same serious health problems as smoking tobacco. The nicotine found in them is highly addictive and can affect brain development in teens, impacting their learning, concentration and mood, causing anxiety and depression.

Despite this, data on teenage vaping in Australia in 2017 indicated one in five students aged 16 to 17 had used an e-cigarette, while nearly one in 10 students aged 12 to 15 had used one. Our work with schools and community groups across the Central Coast tells us that this is a growing concern for them.

The campaign

Say No to Vaping aims to provide the facts about vaping in order to empower teens to make informed decisions about whether they should vape. We have produced a number of materials you can use and share, including videos, social media tiles and printable posters, as well as FAQs. You can download the resources below.

Read the launch media release here.

Say no to addiction, say no to anxiety and depression, say no to being exploited, and say no to the serious health risks. Say No to Vaping.

An adolescent woman turning away as smoke is blown towards her with the words: "Say No to Smoking. Research shows kids who vape are much more likely to start smoking cigarettes. It can also lead to other drug use."


Frequently asked questions

Vaping is inhaling a vapour produced by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette).

E-cigarettes are battery-powered and may look like traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes, as well as everyday items like pens, highlighters or USB memory sticks. They have cartridges filled with a liquid that typically contains nicotine, flavourings and chemicals. This liquid is heated by the battery, producing a vapour that the user inhales, hence the term “vaping”.

No. Despite their appealing flavours, many e-cigarettes contain or produce chemicals and toxins such as formaldehyde and heavy metals that can cause DNA damage, serious lung damage and cancer. They also contain other chemicals not found in tobacco smoke, and it is not yet known what effects these will have on your health in the long-term – so why take the risk?

What’s more, they can cause physical harm too; there are now thousands of cases of people being injured by faulty e-cigarette batteries exploding.

Hazardous substances have been found in e-cigarette liquids and in the vapour produced by e- cigarettes, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, which are known to cause cancer.

The vapour could also be delivering metal particles like chromium, nickel, lead, tin and aluminium into your lungs, and some of these metals are toxic.

No, a STIG or HQD Cuvie refers to vaping using a particular brand of e-cigarette. Both STIGs and Cuvies are shaped like USB sticks and do not look like a traditional e-cigarette. Unlike traditional e- cigarettes that require a battery or charger, many STIGs and Cuvies can be charged by being plugged into a USB drive or any electronic device.

Yes. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine – the same highly-addictive chemical that’s in regular cigarettes. In fact, dependent on the size and type of e-cigarette, they can contain as much nicotine as up to three entire packs of cigarettes!

This is not good for you. Nicotine can affect brain development in teens, impacting their learning, concentration and mood, causing anxiety and depression. Putting nicotine into your body also increases your risk of other types of addiction in later life. Emerging evidence suggests non-smokers who vape are three times more likely to take up tobacco smoking than those who do not vape.

When e-cigarettes were first available, it was thought they could be used to help smokers cut down and eventually quit smoking regular cigarettes. Since then, evidence has shown they are not more effective, and that is why they are not an approved product for helping people to quit. Even more concerning, studies have shown high school students who start using e cigarettes are much more likely to begin smoking regular cigarettes as well.

If you are trying to quit smoking, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a better choice. If you would like help to quit, call the Quitline program on 13 7848 , visit the iCanQuit website or talk to your parent or guardian, or a health professional.

The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is illegal in NSW. It is also illegal to use e-cigarettes in places where smoking is illegal, including:

  • Within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places
  • Public swimming pools
  • Spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas used for organised sporting events
  • Public transport stops and platforms, including ferry wharves and taxi ranks
  • Within 4 metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building
  • Commercial outdoor dining areas

Do You Know What You’re Vaping?

NSW Health has also launched the Do You Know What You’re Vaping? campaign. The campaign highlights the hidden chemicals in vaping products. These are the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray.

The campaign page has downloadable resources including factsheets, posters, social media tiles and videos, with different resources and information for young people, parents and carers, teachers and schools and health professionals.

The Do You Know What You're Vaping campaign banner with weed killer, insect spray, nail polish and disinfectant made to look like vapes.

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