Guidelines for using your e-cigarette

  • Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are not a magic bullet. The best results are when they are used with professional support and counselling and in combination with other therapies, such as a nicotine patch or Champix.
  • Vaping requires a slightly different technique to smoking to achieve effective nicotine doses. Experienced vapers take longer and slower puffs than when smoking, to increase nicotine delivery and to overcome the higher draw resistance of ECs. Typical puff duration with an EC is about 4 seconds, compared with about 2 seconds when smoking.
  • You can take 10-15 puffs in a session, as with a cigarette, or puff as needed. A session of about 10 to 15 puffs is equivalent to smoking a cigarette.
  • Use your EC daily rather than less often. Daily users are more successful in quitting tobacco cigarettes.
  • It is important to persevere for several weeks. Satisfaction and nicotine delivery increase substantially with practice. Practise to find a method that works for you.
  • Try to stop smoking completely when using an EC. Even a few cigarettes per day is very harmful and should be avoided.
  • Aim to use ECs for a limited time only. Although they are much safer than smoking, they do contain small amounts of chemicals. After a while on a higher strength solution, you can reduce to a lower strength of nicotine and even to a nicotine free solution before finally quitting. ECs are less addictive than tobacco cigarettes and are much easier to stop than smoking. However long-term use is preferable to relapsing to smoking.
  • Regular daily use is more effective for quitting than intermittent or non-daily use.
  • When the EC no longer is producing vapour, or when the vapour begins to leave a burnt sensation in your mouth (dry puff), it is time to replace the coil. The coil may last 2-3 weeks or more depending on how much you use it.

Click here for advice from experienced users.


Safety recommendations

  • Only use the charger supplied with your EC to charge it. Explosions and fires have been reported from ECs, particularly when other chargers are used. Click here for more about battery safety
  • The websites of some EC manufacturers provide information about quality assurance for their products, such as electrical safety standards or the absence of some of the more concerning hazardous substances, such as diacetyl.
  • It is best to avoid vaping indoors around children, pregnant women or others with heart or lung disease.
  • Store nicotine-containing solutions in child-resistant bottles and keep out of the reach of children

For more information

Visit your local vape shop for expert advice


Supporting smokers to switch to vaping. Brochure from END Smoking, New Zealand (an independent charitable trust committed to a smokefree New Zealand by 2025)

Online forums

Vaper Café Australia
A friendly online Australian forum. Plenty of free advice and information. 

A long-standing Australian online forum providing information and support.

Clouds of Oz Facebook Group

E-cigarette Forum
The world’s largest EC website


E-cigarette academy. For practical advice on all vaping matters

Mendelsohn CP, Gartner C. Electronic cigarettes. What should you  tell your patients. MedicineToday 2015
A full review of electronic cigarettes for doctors, but also useful for users.

Mendelsohn CP. Electronic cigarettes. What can we learn from the UK experience? Medical Journal of Australia 2016

Mendelsohn CP. Electronic cigarettes. A guide for discussion with patients. Respiratory MedicineToday 2016

Mendelsohn CP. Lowdown on e-cigarettes. Australian Doctor 21 April 2017

Last Modified: 05-08-2017