Vaping FAQs

Thinking of switching to vaping? Here is what leading international experts and public health organisations say, based on the latest available evidence.

1. Can e-cigarettes help me quit smoking?

‘E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy’ and ‘provided greater satisfaction and were rated as more helpful to refrain from smoking than nicotine replacement products’.

Hajek P. A Randomised Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy. New England Journal of Medicine 2019

2. Are e-cigarettes less harmful than smoking?

‘Although not risk-free, e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking – at least 95%, with the risk of cancer calculated to be less than 1%’.

Public Health England. Key questions and findings from our e-cigarette evidence update. 2018

3. Can switching to vaping reduce exposure to toxins and carcinogens?

‘There is conclusive evidence that completely substituting e-cigarettes for combustible tobacco cigarettes reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens present in combustible tobacco cigarettes’.

United States National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes 2018. Conclusion 18.1

4. What are the long-term health hazards of vaping compared to smoking?

‘the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation … is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco’ Nicotine without smoke – Tobacco harm reduction.

Nicotine Without Smoke – Tobacco Harm Reduction. UK Royal College of Physicians 2016

5. Can switching to vaping lead to improved health?

‘If every currently addicted adult smoker switched completely to e-cigarettes it would provide a tremendous public health gain’.

Director of US Food and Drug Administration, Dr Scott Gottlieb 2019

6. Does vaping cause popcorn lung?

‘No. There’s no good evidence that e-cigarettes could cause the lung condition called popcorn lung. There’s been no cases of popcorn lung reported in people who use e-cigarettes.’

Cancer Research UK, 2018

7. Is nicotine harmful?

‘Use of nicotine alone, in the doses used by smokers, represents little if any hazard to the user’ p.125 It is ‘the tobacco smoke that is responsible for almost all of the harm caused by smoking’.

Nicotine Without Smoke – Tobacco Harm Reduction. UK Royal College of Physicians 2016. p.8

8. Is the vapour harmful to bystanders?

‘To date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders’.

Public Health England. Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. 2018 p.162

9. Are e-cigarettes cheaper than smoking?

‘The comparative cost saving for a 20 cigarette-a-day smoker…is over $9,000 per year. So vaping can be about 90% less expensive than smoking’.

Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) 2019