The facts of vaping

Risks of vaping

The biggest risks of vaping are the unknown risks. Vaping hasn’t been around long enough to know the risks of long-term use, but we do know it’s less harmful than smoking.

Vaping – what the doctor says

What we know

Breathing any product into your lungs unnecessarily is not ideal, and that’s why non-smokers should not vape. However, for those who smoke, switching to vaping is likely to substantially reduce health risks.

[There is] general agreement that electronic cigarette use exposes the user to fewer toxicants and at lower levels than smoking cigarettes.

Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation, Cochrane Review April 2021

In general, smokers who switch to vaping reduce their exposure to a wide range of toxic substances. For more information, check out:

There are safety risks to any electronic device.

Learn about vaping safety

Risks are what might happen, but side effects are the direct results.

Read the side effects of vaping

What we don’t know

The risks associated with long-term vaping are unknown. While vaping is less harmful than smoking it is unlikely to be totally harm free. Ideally, smokers who are vaping to quit should look to eventually stop vaping too.

Even though many of the long-term health effects of ENDS use are still unknown, there is growing evidence to demonstrate that these products are not harmless. For example… cardiovascular health, [and] respiratory health.

WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2021: addressing new and emerging products

Scientists will not be certain for many years of any long-term health risks associated with vaping. The Ministry of Health has a role in continuing to monitor the risk.

The Ministry of Health has a role in continuing to monitor the risk. If you become aware of any adverse reactions to vaping please report to the New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre.

Comparative risks of cardiovascular disease and lung disease have not been quantified but are likely to be also substantially below the risks of smoking.

Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation, Cochrane Review April 2021

How does it affect other people?

Be aware that some people may not like being around others who are vaping. Some people may find the vapour unpleasant, or are sensitive to it.

Be considerate about where you are vaping, especially when there are children present or in public spaces that are Smokefree. Respect other people when they request that you do not vape.

How does vaping affect others? Learn the impacts

Vaping at work

Vaping is not permitted in all Smokefree indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Business owners can make their own decisions about vaping in the outdoor areas of their workplace.

The most important thing we can do is to be inclusive and aware of people's needs. If someone at work is vaping to quit, find ways to support them while still being considerate to other people who may be sensitive to vapour.