Australian Department of Health warns of links between E-cigarettes and lung diseases

Users of E-cigarettes are being warned about the habit with growing evidence suggesting vaping could be linked to serious lung disease.

The national Department of Health, along with the support of all states and territories, issued a statement on the emerging links between the use of E-cigarettes and lung diseases.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that allow the user to inhale nicotine or other chemicals in a vapour form.

Liquids used in e-cigarettes can contain nicotine, but also flavourings and harmful substances such as heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing chemicals.

"E-cigarettes are relatively new products and the long-term safety and health effects associated with their use and exposure to second-hand vapour are unknown," the statement said.

"International evidence is emerging of a possible link between the use of e-cigarettes and lung disease."

"E-cigarettes are relatively new products and further research is needed to understand their long term impacts."

"E-cigarettes are relatively new products and further research is needed to understand their long term impacts."

Bendigo Health team leader of Aboriginal services and diversity health promotion Pauline Nolan co-ordinates the smoke-free program at the hospital.

She said she was not surprised to hear there may be potentially negative health aspects to E-cigarettes.

"It is quite a new phenomenon but we support the Australian Government's precaution approach to using (E-cigarettes)," Ms Nolan said.

"Our stance at Bendigo is that we support nicotine replacement therapy and behavioural support. We wouldn't support the use of vape.

"Bendigo Health has been working for a long time in supporting patients who come to quit. our program offers all patient to support in wards and help to quit once they leave."

Juice Cartel owner Hayley Wesche said more regulations in the E-cigarette and vaping sector would help people understand more about the new trend.

"You can use nicotine in (E-cigarettes) for personal consumption with a valid prescription. I can't sell it to you," she said.

"Everything we have is either labelled 'zero milligram' or 'zero milligram, this product does not contain nicotine'.

"It's illegal for me to sell it but you can buy it from the US or New Zealand legally and import enough for three months personal use.

"There's no real guidelines for it and that's what we want, regulations, so that I can safely sell you nicotine and know whats in it is safe."

Ms Nolan said Bendigo Health's smoke-free policy includes vaping.

"There's always concerns when new product comes and vape is one of them," she said.

"The other thing we think about at times is the potential of people being exposed to second-hand (vape) smoke."

Ms Wesche said vape store owners such as herself ensured they provided products that are safe and made in laboratory conditions.

"Our liquid is made in a top of the range lab," she said. "We set our own regulations because there are no regulations for it.

"But we have got people mixing liquids at home in their laundry or kitchen, you don't know what's going into it. There's people on the black market buying zero milligram juice and adding who knows what to it and selling it."

The Australian government's statement comes after six deaths in the United States were linked with vaping and more than 200 cases of lung disease was found in patients with a recent history of E-cigarette use. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory to clinicians.

No single substance has been consistently linked to the illness but many patients reported using cannabinoids.

"This work is ongoing, and Australian health authorities will continue to closely monitor developments," the statement said.

"Further investigations are underway. E cigarettes are relatively new products and further research is needed to understand their long term impacts. However, increasing evidence reinforces the need to maintain, and where appropriate, strengthen the controls."

E-cigarette users who experience unexplained respiratory symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath or chest pain or gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea should seek medical advice.

"Clinicians should ask patients whether they are using e-cigarettes (commonly known as 'vaping') in the same context as encouraging smoking cessation and should reiterate that no e-cigarette product has been evaluated for safety," the statement said.