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The impact on our environment 

8 Sep 2023
News 2 min read
Vapes discarded in weeds and covered in dirt

So how does vaping impact the environment? 

The Federal Government recently announced groundbreaking reforms include removing all single use, disposable e-cigarettes from retail sale. 

The environmental damage caused by e-cigarettes is immense. Many e-cigarette pods are plastic and can’t be recycled due to potential nicotine content. Discarded pods can also leak, creating contamination and plastic waste that takes centuries to degrade.  

Find out how each component of an e-cigarette causes environmental harm: 


  • E-liquids leaking from e-cigarettes can harm aquatic life and contaminate water. 


  • E-cigarettes generate electronic waste (e-waste) with circuit boards and batteries. 
  • Improper disposal of e-cigarettes can cause fires due to electronic components. 


  • Littered e-cigarette packaging and devices contribute to plastic pollution. 
  • Disposable e-cigarettes are made from non-biodegradable plastics that are hard to recycle. 
  • In 2018-19, Australians used 3.4 million tonnes of plastics – over 100kg per person. Every year, roughly 130 000 tonnes of plastic go into the ocean. Only 13% of plastic gets recycled, so even if you do try to recycle an e-cigarette, there is no guarantee it won’t end up in landfill or the environment. 


  • E-cigarettes take hundreds of years to degrade. The lithium batteries contribute to landfill along with the plastics, poisons, nicotine salts and heavy metals found in most devices. And not only are these batteries flammable, but also contribute to electronic waste.


The Guardian breaks it down for us:


Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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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.