Personal vaporisers are in some circles referred to as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and also include devices such as e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pens, hookah pens and e-hookahs. Personal vaporisers are devices designed to produce a vapour that the user inhales. Many devices use an electric element to heat liquid to produce vapour and are used in a manner that simulates smoking, however there are a wide variety of products that differ in their design, operation and appearance. Some devices look like tobacco products, such as cigarettes or pipes, whereas some resemble everyday items such as lipsticks and pens, and others are not designed to resemble a specific product.
Electronic cigarettes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Some look like tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars or pipes, whereas others look like items such as pens and electronic devices. Most electronic cigarettes contain a battery, a liquid cartridge and a vaporisation system. Although the composition of liquids varies, most contain a range of chemicals such as flavouring agents and solvents. Electronic cigarettes may or may not contain nicotine, and the label may not accurately reflect their nicotine content.
The risks and benefits of electronic cigarettes are not fully known and are the subject of debate among health experts. Some advocate the potential of electronic cigarettes to reduce tobacco related harm, whereas others suggest their use will undermine efforts to denormalise tobacco smoking.
For more information about health impacts, please see our factsheet on the Health impacts of e-cigarettes for children, young people and adults (PDF).
In the ACT, personal vaporisers, including electronic cigarettes are regulated in much the same way as tobacco. It is illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18 and to use electronic cigarettes in legislated smoke-free areas in the ACT. Restrictions also apply to advertising, displays and marketing.
These measures are designed to prevent the uptake of electronic cigarettes by non-smokers, including children and young people, and to protect non-users from exposure to electronic cigarette vapour.
The measures follow community consultation in late 2014, which sought community views on options to address the sale and use of electronic cigarettes in the ACT. For further information on the community consultation, please visit the electronic cigarettes community consultation webpage.
For more information about electronic cigarettes, please contact the Health Protection Service via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on (02) 6205 1700.