Frequently asked questions
Is nicotine dangerous?
Nicotine does not cause smoking related disease, such as cancers and heart disease. These are caused by other chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Nicotine is addictive however and it is why people continue to smoke despite knowing about the harmful effects of tobacco. Nicotine in e-cigarettes poses little danger to adult users. In order to prevent accidental poisoning of children, e-cigarettes and liquids should be stored away safely (just as you would with household cleaning products and medicines, including NRT products).
Which e-cigarette should I start with?
This is very much a personal choice. Many people start with 'cigalike' models that look like cigarettes, because the experience is more like smoking a cigarette and they are easy to use. The refillable tank models (second and third generation e-cigs) might take a bit of getting used to, but they allow the use of more flavours and a better sensation, and generally deliver more nicotine than the cigalikes. Two excellent and inexpensive models for beginners are the Joyetech AIO and the Innokin Endura T18.
Specialist e-cigarette retailers or 'vape shops' provide advice and there are also internet forums such as Vaper Cafe Australia where e-cigarette users discuss different product types.
How often should I use my e-cigarette to help me to stop smoking?
As often as you need to help manage nicotine withdrawal and urges to smoke. You will soon discover the best way for you of using your e-cigarette, and find that you’re using it when you feel a need to top-up. It’s not like a cigarette, which you would smoke from start to finish, with an e-cigarette you can sip on it once or twice, and then put it away. If you find you’ve got it in your mouth all the time, you might need to use a stronger e-liquid.
Is it OK to smoke and vape at the same time?
Yes. There is no evidence that smoking cigarettes and vaping at the same time increases health risks. However, the greatest health benefits are seen when people stop smoking tobacco completely, so quitting smoking should be the goal. Health professionals can provide advice and support to help. Some people manage to switch completely to vaping quickly, whilst others take a little time. You may have to try a number of different e-cigarettes and e-liquids before you find the one that enables you to stop smoking completely, but this is quite normal.
Do I use e-cigarettes in the same way that I smoke cigarettes?
Using an e-cigarette is different to smoking a cigarette. This usually involves taking slower and longer puffs over a longer period of time; this is because e-cigarettes heat a coil in a liquid (think of a kettle). You may feel the need to take a few puffs on an e-cigarette at times when you would not have smoked; this is nothing to worry about and your pattern of e-cigarette use will develop over time.
Can I use e-cigarettes in places where I cannot smoke?
There is currently no legislation preventing or restricting the use of e-cigarettes. Some places do not allow vaping whilst others do; if there is no signage then you should ask.
How will I know when I need to change the atomiser in my e-cigarette?
The life of your atomiser (heating coil) will depend on how much you use your e-cigarette and the quality of your device; typically it should last up to two weeks but it could be a lot longer than this. Low vapour production, a ‘burnt’ taste or poor / reduced flavour are signs that your atomiser needs to be replaced.
When you install a new coil and fill your tank always wait 5 minutes to let the e-liquid saturate the wick before you start vaping. Otherwise the coil may be damaged and the vapour will taste burnt. Click here for more about coils.
What nicotine strength e-liquid should I go for?
How much nicotine you require will depend upon how much nicotine you are getting from your cigarettes. And of course how much nicotine you get from your e-liquid will depend upon the type of e-cigarette that you use and how you use it. As a rough guide, most 20-a-day smokers find that 18mg/ml (1.8%) is sufficient, so you could start with this and see how you get on.
How many bottles of e-liquid will I need in a week?
As a rough guide, for a 20-a-day smoker a 30ml bottles of 18mg/ml e-liquid will usually last 7-10 days. However this will depend on the quality of your e-cigarette and your puffing technique; with better devices and experience, e-liquid use will often reduce. You’ll soon get to know how much you need.
How do I choose a flavour?
This is a personal choice. Some people start with tobacco flavour, or menthol flavour if they smoke mentholated cigarettes, but one of the advantages of e-cigarettes is that you can experiment and try new flavours. People usually try a few different flavours until they find the one that suits them. Some people choose to move away completely from tobacco flavours, preferring sweet and fruit flavours for example.
Are e-cigarettes dangerous, do they blow up or catch fire?
As with any rechargeable device, like mobile phones and laptops, it is important to charge with the correct charger and not to leave an e-cigarette unattended whilst charging. Ensure that you buy from reputable suppliers and avoid generic charging equipment. There have been reported cases of e-cigarettes causing fires at a rate of around two per week in the UK, this is far fewer than the number of fires caused by cigarettes. It is important to turn OFF the EC when it is not being used.
Will I end up using more nicotine with my e-cigarette and overdosing?
This is a common misconception around e-cigarettes. Much the same as with NRT, if you have more nicotine than you are used to then you might feel a little nauseous or lightheaded, both of which pass quickly. If this happens
you can just reduce the level of nicotine in the e-liquid that you buy, or use the e-cigarette less. You are in no danger of poisoning yourself and there have been no cases of overdose from inhaling e-liquid.
Are e-cigarettes safer for me than smoking?
Yes. Experts estimate that e-cigarettes are, based on what we know so far, around 95% safer than cigarettes. Smoking is associated with a number of very serious health risks to both the smoker and to others around them. Therefore smokers who switch from smoking tobacco to e-cigarettes substantially reduce a major risk to their health.
I’ve heard that e-cigarettes can produce harmful chemicals?
Some studies have detected chemicals in e-cigarette vapour that are known to cause health problems. However, these chemicals have been found at very low levels that are unlikely to represent a serious risk to health. When e-cigarettes are used within normal operating levels (e.g. not overheated), there are far fewer harmful chemicals present in their vapour than in tobacco smoke. If the e-liquid is being overheated it tends to produce an acrid, unpleasant taste – you will know if this happens!
I get a bit of a cough when I use my e-cigarette
This isn’t unusual and you may benefit from switching from an e-liquid with a high proportion of propylene glycol to one with more vegetable glycol, which can be more soothing.
Is secondhand vapour from e-cigarettes dangerous?
Some studies have found traces of toxicants in secondhand vapour, but atsuch low levels that they do not pose a health risk to bystanders. There is no evidence that secondhand vapour is dangerous to others; however, it helps to be respectful when using e-cigarettes around others, especially non-smokers.
National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training. Electronic cigarettes. A briefing for stop smoking services. NCSCT 2016
To download the full guide, click here
Last Modified: 21-03-2017