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

Risk of cancer

The current estimate is, if vaping is found to be associated with cancer, the risk will only be a tiny fraction of the risks of smoking.

Does vaping cause cancer? Read the research

Effect on others

There is currently no evidence that second-hand vapour is harmful to the health of by-standers. There is concern about youth taking up vaping.

How does vaping affect others? Learn the impacts

Popcorn lung

Reputable e-liquid manufacturers no longer use diacetyl to create buttery flavours, after discovering its effect on popcorn factory workers.

What is popcorn lung? Bust a myth