Vaping & E-cigarettes

Although we do not know the long-term health effects of vaping, using a vape can help smokers quit as it is much less harmful than smoking cigarettes.


Vaping or e-cigarettes are electrical devices which heat a solution (or e-liquid), which produces a vapour that the user inhales or ‘vapes’. E-liquids usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerol, plus flavours, to create an aerosol that people breathe in.

Vapes come in a range of styles, from devices that look similar to traditional cigarettes to refillable-cartridge ‘tank’ systems (second generation) to highly advanced appliances with larger batteries that allow the power to be adjusted to meet an individual’s specific vapour requirements (third generation).


Vaping and quitting

• The best thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking.


• Vaping is for those who are quitting smoking.


• Vaping may be an option for you, particularly if you have tried other ways to quit.


• Get support and advice when you start vaping – this will give you a better chance of successfully stopping smoking.


• Once you have quit smoking tobacco, and you feel sure that you won’t go back to smoking, you should stop vaping as well. It may take some time to become vape free.


• If you vape, you should aim to stop smoking completely to reduce the harm from smoking. Ideally, you should also aim to stop vaping as well.


• If you are vaping to quit smoking, you will have more success using nicotine e-liquid.


• Vaping devices are consumer products and not approved stop smoking products.


Vaping risks/harm/safety

• Vaping is not harmless but it is much less harmful than smoking.


• Nicotine is addictive and is the reason people find it hard to quit smoking. Vaping enables people to get nicotine without the toxins produced by burning tobacco.


• For people who smoke, nicotine is a relatively harmless drug, and long-term use of nicotine has little or no long-term adverse health consequences.


• The tar and toxins in tobacco smoke, (rather than the nicotine) are responsible for most of the harm caused by smoking.


• We do not know the long-term health effects of vaping. However, any judgement of risks has to take account of the risk of continuing to smoke cigarettes, which are substantially more harmful.


• New Zealand safety standards for vaping products are being developed.


• Vapers should buy quality products from reputable sources.


• Nicotine is a relatively harmless drug for people who smoke. However, it is harmful to unborn babies,newborns and children.


• E-liquid should be kept and sold in a child-proof bottle.


Benefits of vaping

• Vaping can help some people quit smoking.


• Vaping is usually cheaper than smoking.


• Vaping is not harmless, but it is much less harmful than smoking.


• Vaping is less harmful to those around you than smoking, as there’s no current evidence that second-hand vapour is dangerous to others.


• Vaping offers experiences similar to smoking a cigarette, which some people find helpful.


Vaping vs smoking

• Vaping is not smoking.


• Vape devices heat e-liquid, which usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerol, plus flavours, to create an aerosol that people breathe in.


• The main difference between vaping and smoking tobacco is that vaping does not involve burning. Burning tobacco creates toxins that cause serious illness and death.


• A vape device heats a liquid (often containing nicotine) to produce an aerosol (or a vapour) that can be inhaled. The vapour delivers nicotine to the user in a way that is relatively free of other chemicals.


Non-smokers and vaping

• If you don’t smoke, don’t vape.

• If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products then don’t start vaping.

• Vaping products are intended for people who smoke.


Vaping and young people

• Young people are experimenting with vaping, and those who try vaping are also those who are more likely to try smoking at a later time. However, it is not possible to say from current evidence that vaping causes people to smoke.

• Smoking rates for both adults and young people are continuing to drop in New Zealand. There is no evidence that vaping is normalising smoking.

• In New Zealand youth smoking rates continue to decline and daily use of vaping devices is rare and is largely confined to those who have smoked.


Second-hand vapour

• As vaping is relatively new, there is no evidence yet that second-hand vapour is dangerous to others, however it is best to not vape around children.


Vaping and pregnancy

There is a hierarchy of messaging for pregnant women.


• During pregnancy it is best to be tobacco free and nicotine free.


• For pregnant women struggling to become tobacco free, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) should be considered. It is important that you talk to your doctor, midwife or stop smoking service about the risks and benefits of vaping.


• If you are considering vaping, talk to your doctor, midwife, or local stop smoking service who can discuss the risks and benefits of vaping.


• Vaping is not harmless, but is less harmful than smoking while pregnant.


Tips for successfully vaping to stop smoking

• Vapers should buy quality products from a reputable source like a specialist vape retailer. It is important to have good equipment, advice and support.


• Ask for help from other people who have successfully vaped to quit smoking.


• Vaping is different to smoking a cigarette; it is important to persevere with vaping as it may take time to work out what vaping style and e-liquid work best for you.


• Talk to the staff at specialist vape shops about the best way to vape when you’re trying to quit.


• You will probably need to experiment in order to find the right combination of device, e-liquid and nicotine strength that work for you.


• Don’t give up on vaping if at first it doesn’t work. It may take some experimentation with different products and e-liquids to find the right one.


• Common side effects of vaping include coughing, dry mouth and throat, shortness of breath, throat irritation, and headaches.


• If you have children or pets, make sure you keep your e-liquid and vape gear out of their reach. E-liquid should be sold and stored in child-proof bottles.


• Look for ways to recycle your bottles and some vape stores can provide advice on how to recycle batteries.


Vaping in smoke-free places is not prohibited by the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990. However, individual organisations can ban the use of e-cigarettes as part of their own smokefree policies.


Vaping and smokeless tobacco - position statement from Ministry of Health 

Vaping facts website