Vaping - Frequently asked questions

This page contains frequently asked questions about vaping.

Is vaping hazardous?

Yes, vaping can be hazardous. The nature of the hazard will depend upon factors such as the liquid used in the e-cigarette and the health status of the individual. 

In 2019, there were 2290 cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use reported in the USA including 47 deaths (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention). The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering ingredient found in the Cannabis plant) was commonly present in the e-cigarettes used by the affected people. Vitamin E Acetate was also commonly present in those e-cigarettes and may be a factor in the health effects.

Studies have shown that some e-cigarettes emit harmful substances such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, particulate matter and flavoring chemicals at levels that have the potential to cause adverse health effects. Chemicals such as propylene glycol and glycerine that have been found in e-cigarettes can produce carcinogens when vapourised. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises that studies show that e-cigarettes expose users and bystanders to particulate matter that may exacerbate existing illnesses or increase the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular or respiratory disease.

Nicotine is a dangerous poison. Liquid nicotine refills for e-cigarettes can be dangerous to children, who may be attracted to the packaging or flavouring. Accidental ingestion of 1 tablespoon of these liquids could be fatal. Call 000 if someone may have been poisoned.

For further information: 

What are the laws related to vaping?

In Western Australia, provisions that relate specifically to e-cigarettes are contained within the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.

Tobacco Products Control Act 2006

It is an offence under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 to sell products that resemble tobacco products (whether they contain nicotine or not).

Medicines and Poisons Act 2014

Nicotine is a dangerous poison and regulated under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.

Work Health and Safety legislation

Section 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act) provides that persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure the health and safety of workers, so far as is reasonably practicable. Section 19(2) of the WHS Act provides that PCBUs must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other people is not put at risk from work the PCBU carries out. These general duties include a duty to prevent exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals at the workplace, as far as reasonably practicable.

The Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022, and the Work Health and Safety (Mining) Regulations 2022 address smoking in enclosed workplaces but do not address the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces.

PCBUs should consult workers about workplace health and safety issues including the use of e-cigarettes. A similar management approach to that used for smoking may be appropriate, involving a workplace policy, and vaping only in designated outdoor areas. Consideration should be given to any workplace specific risk factors, such as the presence of children.

Further reading

Safety bulletin - 01/2021 - Hazards associated with the use of e-cigarette devices

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