For parents

Unveil what you inhale

Vaping is on the rise in Australia and has become popular amongst teenagers and young adults. Very little is understood about the long-term health impacts of vaping, but research has revealed the products contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals, including the highly addictive chemical nicotine. It can be challenging to know how to talk with teenagers about the dangers of vaping. This information is designed to empower you with the latest research and information to engage in meaningful conversation.
View the resource

What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of smoking e-cigarettes, or ‘vapes’, which are lithium battery-powered devices that look like metallic pens, USBs and other hand-held systems. Vapes use cartridges filled with liquids, or ‘juice’, which typically contain nicotine, artificial flavouring, and various chemicals. The liquid is heated into an aerosol, or vapour, and inhaled into the user’s lungs.

These devices are cleverly designed and marketed to attract the attention of teens and young adults.

Read the fact sheet to find out more about the different types of vaping devices and tactics employed by the tobacco industry to market them as a ‘healthier’ and ‘safer’ alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The facts


The long-term health effects are still unknown.

What we do know is that vaping is associated with side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, mouth and airway irritation, chest pain and palpitations. What we’ve learned about traditional cigarettes in recent decades has experts concerned vapes could lead to the next generation of lung disease and lung cancer.

Vapes are unregulated in Australia and lack proper testing.

This means that it’s hard to know exactly what’s in them. Recent Australian research found a range of toxic chemicals present, including formaldehyde, propylene glycol and nicotine.

It’s a gateway to tobacco smoking.

Without even realising, young people are being exposed to nicotine which is highly addictive and can significantly affect the developing brain. As a result, vaping is associated with the future uptake of tobacco cigarette smoking which significantly increases the risk of health complications including stroke, heart attack and cancer.

Research findings

It was found that of more than 50 e-liquids tested:


of the e-liquids were inaccurately labelled.


contained chemicals with unknown effects on respiratory health.


contained nicotine despite this being illegal in Australia.


contained chemicals likely to be toxic if vaped repeatedly.

Resources for young people, parents and carers

These resources were created to fill the knowledge gap around vaping and e-cigarettes and empower young people, parents and carers with the latest research and information. The resources offer evidence-based information on vaping, the health, safety and legal issues in Australia, and the serious health risks to the body and lungs.

Sharable resources

Download the “Vaping and Young People” resource pack which includes a suite of fact sheets you can share with members of your community as well as young people aged 12 – 17 and 18 – 24. This pack also includes information to share via your school or communities newsletter and social media pages.

Download the free pack

Powered by:


A Larcombe, S Allard, P Pringle, R Mead-Hunter, N Anderson, B Mullins. Chemical analysis of fresh and aged Australian e-cigarette. doi:10.5694/mja2.51280.