Australian Health Council warns e-cigarettes are causing ‘harmful’ effects amid rise in young vapers

The Australian Medical and Health Research Agency has issued a warning against the harmful effects of e-cigarette devices.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMR) said on Thursday that vapor from e-cigarettes can be harmful, citing little evidence that e-cigarettes are effective in helping smokers quit.

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“The design and technology behind e-cigarettes continues to evolve, but the method is the same – e-cigarettes deliver harmful substances directly into the lungs,” NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said.

Containing over 200 chemicals, vapes have been linked to burn seizures, addiction and lung damage, with long-term effects and their relationship to cancer, cardiovascular disease, reproduction, respiratory outcomes and sanity is unclear.

“If you’ve never used e-cigarettes, don’t start – evidence shows you may continue to smoke tobacco cigarettes,” Professor Kelso warned.

Based on the latest research, including studies on the health effects of e-cigarettes and numerous toxicology reports, the advisory states:

  • All e-cigarette users are exposed to chemicals and toxins that can cause harm. In addition to nicotine, over 200 chemicals have been associated with e-liquids.
  • Electronic cigarettes containing nicotine are addictive and people who have never smoked are more likely to start smoking tobacco.
  • Electronic cigarettes are not safe and effective smoking cessation aids. Many people end up using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. There are other safe and effective options proven to help smokers quit.

With sales of black market vaping products online, targeting young people, particularly on social media, NHMRC advice has received the full support of Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, as well as CHOs from all states and territories.

“One in five people aged 18 to 24 who have never smoked say they have tried electronic cigarettes”, chief doctor Paul Kelly said.

“Only one in three people who have used e-cigarettes said they used them to help quit smoking, so most people use them recreationally.

“Please discuss this evidence with your children, nieces and nephews, students, players on your football or netball team, siblings – we need that conversation out there. We need these questions to be BBQ plugs,” Professor Kelly insisted.

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