Strong support for NHMRC’s assessment of e-cigarettes


The Australian Council on Smoking and Health has today strongly supported the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) comprehensive assessment of the health effects of e-cigarettes.

Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, said the NHMRC has found that the vapour from e-cigarettes can be harmful and there is limited evidence that e-cigarettes are effective in helping smokers quit.

Australia’s premier health and medical research agency, the NHMRC, has reviewed the medical and scientific evidence on e-cigarettes and advises that:

  • All e-cigarette users are exposed to chemicals and toxins that have the potential to cause harm. In addition to nicotine, more than 200 chemicals have been associated with e-liquids.
  • E-cigarettes containing nicotine are addictive and people who have never smoked are more likely to take up tobacco smoking.
  • E-cigarettes are not proven safe and effective smoking cessation aids. There are other proven safe and effective options to help smokers quit.

“The NHMRC has drawn attention to the disturbing finding that the number of e-cigarette related calls to Australian Poisons Information Centres has doubled between 2020 and 2021,” Mr Swanson said.

“This advice from the NHMRC is entirely consistent with a major review of the evidence conducted by the Australian National University.

“This review, the most extensive conducted to date, found the risks of e-cigarettes include: addiction; intentional and unintentional poisoning; acute nicotine toxicity, including seizures; burns and injuries; lung injury; indoor air pollution; environmental waste and fires; and dual-use with cigarette smoking,” he said.

“Urgent action must be taken to ensure nicotine e-cigarettes are only accessed by smokers with a doctor’s prescription trying to quit, as required by law.

“The federal government must do more to stop unlawful nicotine e-cigarette imports and the states and territories must shut down unlawful retail sales.

“All governments must move to abolish so-called non-nicotine e-cigarettes, which are harming children and hampering legal control of nicotine products.

“We must not allow a new generation of Australians to get hooked on nicotine,”

Mr Swanson said.

For media enquiries please contact Maurice Swanson 0401 090 915

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) is an independent, non-government, not-for-profit coalition established in 1971, and represents a further 35 prominent health and community organisations with a shared concern about smoking and its harmful consequences.

ACOSH has been a leading advocate for all the regulatory and legislative changes to reduce the impact of smoking on the Australian community and is supported by the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation – Healthway.