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Vaping quick facts

What are they, why are they dangerous and what you can do about it

A group of young people sitting together smiling

Resources from our partners at Quit 

Quitline (13 7848) and information about quitting:

Quit's Get the facts about vaping website:

Quit's See through the haze campaign about the toxic chemicals in vapes:


Most Googled questions


While our partners at Quit have plenty of excellent resources outlined above, below we've included some answers to frequently Googled questions.

  • What are vapes?

    Vapes are battery operated devices, that use a coil to heat liquid into aerosols.  The ‘cloud’ of fumes emitted from vaping is an aerosol, a fine spray containing toxic and corrosive chemicals that can lodge in the lungs.

  • Why are vapes dangerous?

    They contain toxic chemicals

    They can contain up to 200 dangerous chemicals, such as poisons found in weed killer and paint stripper, that are inhaled deep into the lungs.

    Learn more on our page Vaping: the impact on our health.

    They seem to be designed for children

    • Colours and flavours
      Many of the flavours such as chocolate milk, candy floss and cola ice seem to be designed to target children. 
    • Often disguised to look like everyday items
      Pens, lip gloss, USB sticks or hoodie toggles, making them discreet and easy to fit into a pocket undetected. 



    Video descriptive transcript

    • The video shows a number of soft drink cans, with the text 'Which of these cans has a secret? Let's find out.'

    • We then see a vape next to each can, before we see someone open one of the cans the same way you would untwist a jar lid, revealing it is a storage container to hide vapes.

    • We then see the text 'Big Vape is selling products so teens can hide vapes from their parents. This must stop.'

    • The video ends with a call to action to visit 

  • How to talk to your child about vaping


    Click the transcript symbol

    Animated icon of a magnifyign glass on a page

    above to view a full transcript for this video interview with Doug, a parent of teens.



    Vaping conversation guide for parents


    VicHealth in partnership with The Behaviour Change Collaborative has developed a guide that can help you have a meaningful, non-threatening conversation with your teen about vaping.

    Learn more

  • What is vape juice?

    This is a term used to refer to the liquids used in vapes. They can contain up to 200 toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, nicotine and heavy metals. These chemicals are known to cause cancer and damage our brains – they do not belong in our lungs. 

    Learn more about the chemicals in vapes in the See through the haze campaign from Quit. 

  • Are smoke-free vapes safe?

    No, they're toxic, addictive and illegal to sell in Australia.

    Vapes contain toxic chemicals that don’t belong in our lungs. 

    Vapes pose a host of health dangers, from asthma attacks, to bronchitis, to inflammation of the lungs and in some cases, even death. 

    Learn more about the chemicals in vapes in the See through the haze campaign from Quit. 

    Vaping is also highly addictive, and often leaves users feeling dependent. 

    Illegal to sell
    In Australia it’s illegal to sell vapes with nicotine to someone without a medical prescription – but most vaping products available in shops do, in fact, contain nicotine. 

    It’s illegal to sell any vapes to people under the age of 18, whether they contain nicotine or not.



    Click the transcript symbol

    Animated icon of a magnifyign glass on a page

    above to view a full transcript for this video.


  • Are nicotine-free vapes safe?

    No, they're mislabeled, have no product safety standards and contain toxic chemicals. 

    Even if vapes say they don't contain nicotine, laboratory testing has shown that most vapes available in Australia do contain nicotine.

    No product safety standards
    Unless prescribed by a doctor, vapes are unregulated. That means there are no minimum product safety standards or consequences for a manufacturer who doesn’t label their product accurately. 

    Vapes have been found to include up to 200 toxic chemicals, such as those found in paint stripper and weed killer. 

    Learn more about the chemicals in vapes in the See through the haze campaign from Quit. 

    What the Australian Government is doing about vaping
    See a timeline of Australian Government actions to protect future generations from the harms created by Big Tobacco and Big Vape.

  • Is the vapour created by vapes safe?

    Vape 'vapour' contains toxic aerosols. Small particles from these can get lodged in our lungs.

    Toxic aerosols
    No. The Big Tobacco and Big Vape industries call the emissions from their product ‘vapour’ to give the impression it is just steam. But they're actually an aerosol that contains hundreds of toxic particles. 

    The liquid inside vaping products can contain up to 200 chemicals, including poisons found in weed killer and paint stripper.

    Particles lodge in our lungs
    When people vape, this fine spray of chemicals enters the body via the lungs, where small particles can get lodged.

    Heavy metals found on the inside surface of vapes (including lead, nickel and aluminum) can also shed and lodge deep in the lungs. 

    Learn more about the chemicals in e-cigarettes in the See through the haze campaign from Quit. 

  • Is vaping illegal in Australia?

    The laws in Australia

    • It's illegal to buy and sell a vape or any e-liquid that contains nicotine, unless you have a doctor’s prescription. 
    • It's illegal to sell a vape or a liquid intended to be used in a vape (even if it does not contain nicotine) to a person under 18 years. 

    But Big Tobacco and Big Vape companies are skirting current regulations by selling ‘non-nicotine’ vapes (when they do in fact still contain nicotine). 

    Further reform is needed to protect young people.

    Government action timeline

  • Get help to quit vaping

    Quitline (13 7878) is a free, confidential advice and support service open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday

    Quitline counsellors are available via phone, live web chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or SMS:

    They also provide:

    • Aboriginal Quitline (13 7848)
    • Translators (call Quitline on 13 7848 and tell them you need an interpreter)
    • Access if you are deaf or have hearing or speech impairment via the National Relay Service:
      • TTY users phone 13 3677 and ask for 13 7848  
      • Speak & Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 13 7848
      • Internet relay users connect to the National Relay Service then ask for 13 7848 
Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.