Vaping is a serious national public health issue, with one in four young people trying it at either primary or high school.
Originally these devices were sold to Australians as an effective way of quitting tobacco.
However, studies have shown that not only does it not do that, it also causes many vapers who'd never smoked tobacco before to take up smoking and potentially develop serious, if not life-threatening, diseases as a result.
In fact, young vapers who've never smoked before are three times as likely to take up cigarettes as non-vapers.
It's such a problem in Australia the NSW Department of Health announced in May it would install 40,000 vape detectors in public school toilets, while the federal health minister announced plans to reduce the amount of tobacco in the only legal kind of vapes, the ones obtained by a GP and sold in pharmacies, for those people wanting to quit smoking.
Meanwhile, the May Budget allocated funds to ramping up import bans to halt the 90m flavoured vapes pouring into the country illegally every year, and this would be funded through increased taxes on cigarettes expected to generate $300 million in tax revenue a year.
There will also be new controls on packaging with vape packets containing health warnings.
Federal Health Minister Mark Butler also plans to sit down with state and territory governments to set up a comprehensive enforcement framework to weed vapes out of circulation and stop them from crossing our shores, including better policing their sale and procurement in each jurisdiction.
Currently, they're available at petrol stations, convenience stores and some supermarkets.
But what's all the fuss about?
The common perception was that vapes or e-cigs were a helpful way to quit smoking.
They've been around for over a decade now.
There have been enough studies into their effectiveness and effects on the body to raise some serious doubts about the practice.
Respiratory physicians have said there's no safe amount of chemical to ingest in your lungs, yet vapes have over 200 chemicals, including those that make weed killer and nail polish remover.
A Queensland government study into their contents released at the end of May found they contained staggering amounts of nicotine plus chemicals, including arsenic and formaldehyde.
Unsurprisingly the harmful chemicals in e-cigs have been linked to a range of cancers in university studies, and the practice is particularly harmful to teenagers and young adults who have rapidly growing bodies and can be affected by bursts of chemicals in their bodies.
There seems to be ignorance surrounding the use of recreational vapes, particularly in younger age groups, who may not be aware of the ingredients and health implications associated with this habit.- Dr Sue Ching Yeoh, an oral medicine specialist and the Australian Dental Association's expert on vaping and e-cigs
While data on its effects is still not widely available, in the US, the Centre for Disease Control linked 68 deaths in 29 states and over 2800 hospitalizations in 2020 to vaping, many of which were connected to the chemical vitamin E acetate.
Effects on the oral cavity may include increasing the risk of dental caries, oral cancer, dry mouth and periodontal disease, which, if left untreated, can precipitate a range of other serious health conditions, some of which can be life-threatening in some people.
There are other health effects, too, including lung disease.
Certainly, nicotine in some vapes has been associated with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, among other diseases.
"The message is crystal clear," said Dr Sue Ching Yeoh, an oral medicine specialist and the Australian Dental Association's expert on vaping and e-cigs.
"Vapes can be very harmful to your health. There seems to be ignorance surrounding the use of recreational vapes, particularly in younger age groups, who may not be aware of the ingredients and health implications associated with this habit.
"Even in the setting of smoking cessation, dentists should be encouraging their patients to seek tried and tested, effective measures before considering vaping as an option."
Smokers who want to quit should be encouraged to discuss evidence-based smoking cessation methods with their dentist or GP.
Smoking cessation medication (approved by the TGA) combined with behavioural intervention provides smokers with the best chance of quitting for good.
For evidence-based smoking cessation support, contact Quit on 13 78 48.
Information courtesy of the Australian Dental Association.