18.0 Introduction

Last updated: January 2023 

Suggested citation: Greenhalgh, EM, & Scollo, MM. 18.0 Introduction. In Greenhalgh, EM, Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors]. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2023. Available from:  https://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-18-e-cigarettes/ 18-0-introduction


In light of the rapidly evolving evidence and uncertainty surrounding e-cigarette products, Australian researchers have attempted to develop a framework for assessing the public health impact of e-cigarettes and to inform the development of evidence-based policy. The framework comprises seven components: (1) characterisation of products under consideration; (2) definition of populations of interest; (3) characterisation of exposure to tobacco smoking, control and impacts on health and well-being; (4) review of evidence on patterns of e-cigarette use; (5) review of evidence on the relationship of e-cigarette use to health outcomes; (6) assessment of likely risks, benefits and safety and (7) identification and assessment of policy options to optimise health outcomes. 1 This chapter considers evidence to date on each of these components:

Section 18.1 characterises e-cigarette products
Section 18.2 describes how these are advertised and promoted to populations of interest
Section 18.3 sets out available data about the prevalence of e-cigarette use in Australia and internationally
Section 18.4 summarises the safety risks of e-cigarette use
Section 18.5 provides an overview of the chemicals in e-cigarette products and their potential for harm
Section 18.6 summarises the findings of a rapidly growing body of research on the potential health effects of use of e-cigarettes
Section 18.7 provides an overview of the evidence on the effects of e-cigarette use on smoking uptake and cessation.
Section 18.8 considers population-level benefits and harms of increasing e-cigarette use
Section 18.9 examines factors that influence the uptake of e-cigarettes
Section 18.10 looks at the implementation and effectiveness of policies and programs to reduce e-cigarette use among young people and non-smokers
Section 18.11 reviews cessation interventions for e-cigarette users
Section 18.12 examines public perceptions of the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes
Section 18.13 provides an overview of their legal status in Australia
Section 18.14 provides a comprehensive summary of regulations internationally, and
Section 18.15 collates Australian and international position statements on e-cigarettes 

Relevant news and research

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1. Banks E, Martin M, and Harris M. Framework for the public health assessment of electronic cigarettes. Tobacco Control, 2021. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33958423