Media Room

7 in 10 people in NSW support restrictions on use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free environments

1st March 2018 - Cancer prevention Cancer research Advocacy

Cancer Council NSW has today released data showing that 70% of adults in NSW support protecting the community from potentially harmful emissions from e-cigarettes, with stronger restrictions on their use in public places.

The data indicates that in many cases even people who had used e-cigarettes supported applying the same indoor and outdoor restrictions to the use of e-cigarettes as regular cigarettes.

Cancer Council NSW supports the proposed move by the NSW Government to address inconsistencies in e-cigarette laws, bringing NSW in line with other states which already treat the use of e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes in public places in the same way. 

“We know there is significant community support for updating these laws – 7 out of 10 people surveyed in NSW think that e-cigarettes should be restricted at indoor and outdoor spaces where smoking is currently banned, including outdoor dining areas, at public transport stops and children’s playgrounds,” said Cancer Council NSW’s Director of Prevention and Advocacy, Anita Dessaix.

“We welcomed the NSW Government move in 2015 which banned the use of e-cigarette use in cars with children, and the NSW community want to see further action on smoke-free environments when it comes to e-cigarettes.”

With the survey also showing that 76% of people agreed that not enough was known about the side effects and safety of e-cigarettes, Ms Dessaix highlighted the need for a precautionary approach.

“As it stands, no e-cigarette product has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The proposed changes directly impact a very small proportion of the population, with only 1% of NSW adults reporting current use of e-cigarettes. Given there is established evidence that most e-cigarettes contain and emit potentially toxic substances, we support limiting non-smokers’ exposure to e-cigarette emissions in the same way as regular cigarettes.”

Respiratory Physician and Head of Respiratory Medicine at Concord Hospital, Professor Matthew Peters, a clinical adviser to Cancer Council and former chair of ASH Australia, raised concerns over the impact of e-cigarette use on the lungs.

“Early research shows the lungs are at greatest risk of harm. E-cigarette use can cause chronic bronchitis symptoms, loss of lung function that may be more rapid than regular smoking, asthma attacks in children, and high rates of pneumonia. Exhaled vapour clouds contain all the compounds inhaled and there is still much work to be done to determine the safety of second-hand exposure,” Professor Peters said.

Ms Dessaix concluded: “Until we determine the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on individual health and public health more broadly, Cancer Council NSW supports a precautionary approach to their promotion, availability and use in NSW.”


Notes to editors

  • NSW Community Behaviours, Beliefs & Attitudes towards E-Cigarettes was an online survey of 1,001 NSW adults aged between 18 and 64 was conducted during May 2015. Data were post-weighted to reflect the NSW population using 2011 census data.
  • To inform Cancer Council NSW’s advocacy to the NSW Government regarding comprehensive e-cigarette regulation and to assist with developing education programs related to e-cigarettes, Cancer Council NSW conducted a survey of adults living in NSW. Issues captured by the survey included:
    • Awareness of e-cigarettes
    • Perceptions about the purpose of e-cigarettes
    • Use of e-cigarettes
    • Beliefs about the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes; and
    • Support for e-cigarette regulation
Cancer prevention Cancer research Advocacy