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All about Vaping

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Last Updated:
April 2022

The Conversation

Vaping, e-Cigarettes, Juul, e-Liquid... you might have come across these terms in recent times, but what does it all mean? In this conversation, we look at vaping, why people do it, and point you towards some great resources to learn more.

Multicoloured vaping devices, standing on their end. They resemble thick pens. Image by haiberliu on Pixabay.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the inhalation of a vapour from an electronic device. Often this vapour contains nicotine (the active ingredient in tobacco), flavourings, and various other chemicals; and sometimes, the vapour contains THC (the active ingredient in Cannabis).

The devices themselves are called many names: Vapes, E-Cigs, E-Cigarettes, e-Pipes, Juul, and Nic Stick are just a few.

Using a vaping device is usually called "vaping".

The Australian Drug Foundation has an excellent factsheet to explain the facts about vaping:

<center><a href="" class="rich-btn orange">Learn more about Vaping</a></center>

Why do people vape?

Many people use vaping as a Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help them quit smoking cigarettes, although the evidence around how effective vapes are for smoking cessation is limited.

Because vapes come in a variety of bright colours and flavours, some people experiment with vapes out of curiosity, or based on the recommendation (or, possibly, peer pressure) from people they know.

Vapes that contain nicotine are addictive: some people might vape because their bodies have become accustomed to using nicotine, and they have cravings that vaping satisfies.

What is the vaping situation in Australia?

From October 2021, vaping products containing nicotine can only be purchased with a doctor's prescription. This includes products bought both inside and outside of Australia.

Vaping equipment and vapes or vaping liquid that does not contain nicotine are legal to sell in Australia. In most states, vapes are included in existing smoking laws, which means you must be 18 years or older to purchase any kind of vaping product, and police have the right to confiscate any vaping equipment that is in the possession of someone younger than 18; you cannot use vapes in non-smoking areas; and you cannot vape inside cars if there are people under the age of 16 inside the vehicle.

<center><a href="" class="rich-btn orange">Learn more about vaping laws in Australia</a></center> <p>

We know that vaping has become more prevalent in recent years, with increases in both adults and young people who have ever tried a vape. It appears that vaping is most prevalent among young people aged 18-24, although it is a small percentage of all people in that age group. Although there are increases in the number of people vaping, it seems that most people do not vape.

<center> <a href="" class="rich-btn orange">Discover the latest statistics from ABS</a></center><p>

What about young people and vaping?

Of young people aged 18-24 who have ever vaped, about 64% were current smokers and 20% were non-smokers. When asked why they had used a vape, most said they used it out of curiosity.

About 14% of young people aged 12-17 have ever tried a vape, and they report getting these mostly from friends, although they also bought vapes themselves or received them from siblings or parents.

Despite these percentages increasing, most young people don't smoke or vape. Like with any drug, the safest option for young people is to not use vapes, or to delay trying a vape for as long as possible: young people's bodies and brains are busy growing and developing, and drugs like nicotine can harm that process.

<center><a href="" class="rich-btn orange">Read information about vaping for Parents</a></center><p>

Finding Help

If you or someone you love is seeking help for issues with vaping, take a look at the Services and Helplines section. Most services that provide smoking counselling or treatment are able to help with vaping.

Other Names

Also Known As: e-Cigarettes

e-Cigarettes are tools used to inhale vapour which commonly contains Nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant drug which speeds up the messages between the body and brain.

It might also be referred to as:

BIDI stick, Blu, Cloud Chasing, Clouds, Cuvie, e-Cig, e-Liquid, e-Pipe, e-Smoking, Electronic Cigar, Electronic Cigarette, Ghost, Juul, Nic Stick, Nicotine Fluid, Njoy, Novo, Puff Bar, Smoke Juice, Smokeless Ciagarette, Suorin, Vape, Vaping, Vooping, Vuse, Wop, Wop Machine

Heard of another slang term? Let us know by clicking 'Report an Issue'!

More Information


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Services and Helplines


Alcohol and Drug Foundation (n.d.) e-cigarettes,, accessed 1 April 2022a.    

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (n.d.)Vaping amongst young people,, accessed 1 April 2022b.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (n.d.)Vaping and young people,, accessed 1 April 2022c.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (n.d.)Vaping in Australia,, accessed 1 April 2022d.

Australian Bureau of Statistics(2022) Smoking, 2020-21 financial year,, accessed 1 April 2022.

Australian Tobacco Harm ReductionAssociation (n.d.) ‘The Law’, ATHRA,, accessed 1 April 2022.

Department of Health Tasmania(2020) ‘Smoking Products Retailers Guide 2020’,, accessed 1 April 2022.

Healthdirect Australia (2021) E-cigarettes,, accessed 1 April 2022.  

Royal Children’s HospitalMelbourne (2020) How harmful can vaping be?,, accessed 1 April 2022.