Vaping – what you need to know
E-cigarettes, or vape, have become popular in Australia. Many people believe that vapes, are less harmful than cigarettes, or that using e-cigarettes, or vaping, can assist with quitting smoking. It’s important to know the long-term health risks of vaping.
Vapes are battery powered devices filled with liquids, or ‘juice’. The liquids typically contain nicotine, artificial flavouring and some chemicals. Vaping happens when the device heats the liquids into a vapour, which the user then inhales into their lungs.
It’s important to understand that there are no safety or quality standards for e-cigarettes or the liquids. Hazardous substances have been found in e-cigarettes, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, which are known to cause cancer. Some chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols can cause DNA damage.
While many e-cigarette liquids are labelled as being nicotine-free, research has found that most e-cigarettes in Australia contain nicotine – even those that are labelled as nicotine-free.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and has been shown to harm brain development and impair memory and concentration.
How vaping affects your body
The short-term effects of vaping include nausea, vomiting, coughing, shortness of breath and mouth irritation. E-cigarettes have not been around for long enough for us to have a good, evidence-based understanding of the long-term effects of vaping. However, most health experts believe it is likely that vaping will cause lung and mouth cancers.
What to do
If you are concerned about your use of vapes, the best thing you can do is speak with a general practitioner (GP). GPs can speak to you about your options and provide a script for subsidised medication to help you stop vaping, such as nicotine patches, gum or tablets.
Deakin students can access confidential medical services at Deakin Medical Centre.
Quitline counsellors are trained to help you build and keep your motivation to quit vaping. Call 13 78 48 to speak to a counsellor. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counsellors are available between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.
More help and advice
ReachOut provide 7 strategies for breaking bad habits.