Vaping nicotine is beneficial to young people at a population level

Posted on July 24, 2023 By Colin

UNDERAGE VAPING continues to dominate the media and drives public policy in Australia. Daily, alarmist headlines feed the anxieties of parents, teachers and public health officials and have created a full-blown moral panic. However, the fear of youth vaping greatly exceeds the objective threat it poses—and benefits are almost universally overlooked.

In fact, vaping nicotine is beneficial to young people overall

That is a controversial statement in the current emotional debate. However, policy on vaping should be driven by evidence, not moral panic, opinions and ideology.

So what is the evidence? How harmful is vaping really, and what are the benefits? Importantly, what is the net impact of vaping on youth health and wellbeing?

What are the harms of youth vaping?

The young people who are most at-risk of harm from vaping are those who have never smoked, as vaping can expose them to new and unnecessary health risks. However, most vaping by never-smokers is experimental and short-term. Exposure to toxicants and the risk of harm are low with this pattern of vaping.

What are the benefits?

The overall impact of vaping on youth

Young people who do not smoke should generally be advised not to start vaping, due to its small potential health risks.

However, at a population level, the evidence suggests an overall benefit from vaping nicotine for young people, particularly from reduced smoking rates


Mendelsohn CP. It’s Time to Change the Way We Look at Youth Vaping. Filter 14July2023

Mendelsohn CP, Hall W. What are the harms of vaping in young people who have never smoked. Int J Drug Policy 2023

What does the evidence say about youth vaping? Blog, 30May2023

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