Based on in-depth evidence reviews and an extensive toxicology report, the advice states that all e-cigarette users are exposed to chemicals and toxins that have the potential to cause harm.
These include more than 200 unique chemicals including flavours, solvents, and humectants that can cause adverse health effects such as seizures, E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI), throat irritation, cough, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
Alarmingly, e-cigarette-related calls to Australian Poisons Information Centres doubled between 2020 and 2021, indicating the increase in intentional and unintentional poisoning and acute nicotine toxicity.
The advice also states that e-cigarettes containing nicotine are addictive and people who have never smoked are more likely to take up tobacco smoking.
E-cigarettes have not been proven to be a safe and effective smoking cessation tool and, for former smokers, using an e-cigarette may in fact increase the chance of smoking relapse. Dual use of tobacco and e-cigarettes have been linked to increased heart rate, blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
While there are proven safe and effective evidence-based treatments available to help quit smoking including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (commonly known as NRT), pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions, evidence shows that approximately two-thirds to three-quarters of smokers who successfully quit do so unaided.
As the peak lung health organisation, Lung Foundation Australia welcomes these findings that are notably also supported by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and each state and territory’s Chief Health Officers.
“The evidence is in and there is now national agreement that these devices can cause harm, and there is inadequate evidence to show that e-cigarettes work as a smoking cessation tool. We need real action to curb this escalating public health crisis that is disproportionately impacting our youth,” says Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke.
The 2020/21 NSW Population Health Survey found e-cigarette use was highest in ages 16-24, both for ever-use (32.7%) and current use (11.1%). The survey also found that twice as many adults under 40 have tried or used e-cigarettes than those over 40.
“The vaping industry is backed by big tobacco, and they’re using the same tactics we saw decades ago, with their ultimate goal being to addict a new generation of Australians to nicotine,” Mr. Brooke added.
“The marketing tactics being used, including using social media influencers and inappropriate marketing campaigns are incredibly concerning, and illegal access to these harmful products is proliferating at an alarming rate.”
Lung Foundation Australia urges the Federal Government to ban e-cigarettes for anyone without a prescription and urges each state and territory to ensure that enforcement bodies are coordinated and empowered to take appropriate action locally. Public health advice and policy must be strengthened immediately, and we urge the prompt update and launch of the National Tobacco Strategy with clear and strong action to eliminate the use of e-cigarettes.