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What's hiding in a vape?

VicHealth unveils sculpture on the harms of vaping

6 Jun 2023
Media Release 4 min read
Vape cloud sculpture shows toxic chemicals hiding in e-cigarettes

A sculpture in the form of a ‘vape cloud’ is on public display at Scienceworks as part of an ongoing VicHealth initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes (vapes). 


The sculpture, depicting the toxic chemicals found in e-cigarettes, comes in response to concerning new VicHealth data highlighting just one in three young people surveyed understand what’s contained in e-cigarettes. 

The National E-Cigarette Awareness and Attitudes Survey, conducted in February and March, revealed: 

  • Only one in three young people (37%) and parents (34%) understand what’s in an e-cigarette  
  • Less than two in five (39%) parents were aware that e-cigarettes can contain as much nicotine as 50 traditional cigarettes 
  • Nine in 10 parents are concerned about the popularity of vaping among children   
  • Less than two in five (39%) young people know that using e-cigarettes can lodge fine metal particles deep in people’s lungs 

E-cigarettes can contain over 200 toxic chemicals, many of which are found in weed killer, bleach and paint stripper. The sculpture visually represents 10 of these commonly recognisable toxic chemicals, making the dangers of vaping clear to children and their families.  

Victorian Minister for Health, The Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas, says, "We're proud to be launching this installation to raise awareness and drive crucial change around the troubling use of e-cigarettes gripping young Victorians." 

VicHealth CEO, Dr Sandro Demaio, says families are rightly concerned about vaping and need to be armed with the facts to have critical conversations with their children.  

“While the government continues to make positive headway with their landmark reforms to tackle vaping, we need to urgently educate Victorians about the dangers of vaping from a young age as they’re targeted with misinformation from the tobacco industry.” 

“Our research reveals around two thirds of parents and young people don’t understand that e-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals – many known to cause cancer. This installation is an engaging way of educating families about the very real dangers of vaping. 

The display aligns with the recent launch of Quit Victoria’s new online Hub ‘Get the Facts on Vaping’ — a new resource providing information for parents and influential adults to have conversations about the risks of vaping with young people. 

“Most e-cigarettes sold in Australia contain nicotine, one of the most addictive known substances, which is harmful to adolescent brain development, hinders concentration and can increase their risk of taking up smoking cigarettes by three,” adds CEO Cancer Council Victoria and former Quit Director, Todd Harper. 

“By housing this sculpture at Scienceworks and providing actionable advice through our ‘Get the Facts on Vaping’ hub, children and their families will gain access to new information and supportive ways of talking about the harms of vaping, free from judgement. After all, it’s predatory industry tactics that have led to the steep rise in e-cigarette usage.”  

"For more than 30 years, Scienceworks has engaged millions of children with challenges that confront our society and helped them to navigate their way through,” adds Museums Victoria CEO and Director, Lynley Crosswell. 

"This joint initiative with VicHealth allows us to visually communicate to young people and their families the science behind vaping and help them to understand the dangers and we hope, prevent future harm." 

Vape cloud sculpture shows toxic chemicals hiding in e-cigarettes


The sculpture will be on display from 7 June 2023 until 3 August 2023 at Scienceworks

More information about vaping and the toxic chemicals found in e-cigarettes is at

Access Quit Victoria's new online Hub 'Get the Facts on Vaping' at


Media Kit available HERE

For media enquiries please contact

Letti Koutsouliotas-Ewing
[email protected]
0452 233 350

About VicHealth

The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) is a pioneer in health promotion – enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. VicHealth’s primary focus is promoting good health and preventing chronic disease.

VicHealth creates and funds world-class interventions, conducts vital research to advance Victoria’s population health, produces and supports public campaigns to promote a healthier Victoria, and provides transformational expertise and insights to the government. VicHealth works with all levels of government, across political parties and communities, and a range of sectors across health, sports, research, education, the arts, and media.

For more information on VicHealth please visit



[1] About the National E-Cigarette Awareness and Attitudes Survey 


VicHealth conducted an online survey in early 2023 to better understand the attitudes, behaviours and awareness of e-cigarettes among young people and parents of teenagers in Australia.  

Between 23 February and 16 March 2023, 2,332 people in Australia were surveyed across two population cohorts:  

  • 1,000 young people aged 16-30  
  • 1,332 parents of children aged 12-17. 

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
VicHealth acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We pay our respects to all Elders past, present and future.
This website may contain images, names and voices of deceased people.

VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.