31 May 2021

NSW Health is encouraging people to quit vaping and congratulates tobacco smokers for continuing to kick the habit in an effort to lead a healthier, longer life.

Marking World No Tobacco Day, the Director of Public Health Programs Carolyn Murray said the 2020 NSW Population Health Survey shows daily tobacco smoking rates have declined to 9.2 per cent of NSW adults aged over 16 years of age, compared with 11.2 per cent in 2019.

“This continues the long-term trend of declining daily smoking rates over the past decade from 12.8 per cent in 2010. We congratulate the NSW community on their efforts to quit smoking in 2020, and encourage even more people to quit smoking during 2021 to improve their health,” Ms Murray said.

“However, the latest data shows that use of electronic cigarettes continues to increase, particularly among young people, and we strongly urge people to quit vaping as they may increase the risk of developing cancer and respiratory diseases.”

In 2019-2020, 2 per cent of NSW adults aged over 16 years were current users of e-cigarettes, and 9.6 per cent of NSW adults had used an e-cigarette.

Concerningly, use of e-cigarettes in young people aged 16 to 24 has increased substantially since data on e-cigarette use was first collected in the NSW Population Health Survey.

In 2019-2020, 21.4 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds had used an e-cigarette, compared with 15.6 per cent in 2014-2015. In 2019-2020, 4.5 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds were current users of e-cigarettes, compared with 1.7 per cent in 2014-2015. Emerging evidence is showing that those young people who use e-cigarettes are up to three times more likely to take up traditional tobacco smoking, compared with those young people who do not use e-cigarettes.

“We have made significant progress in reducing smoking rates over the past 15 years in NSW, and we do not want to see that progress eroded by increasing use of e-cigarettes by young people,” Ms Murray said.

NSW Health is continuing its strong e-cigarette compliance and enforcement program by targeting stores and has seized more than 37,000 e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine since January this year.

It is illegal in NSW, and across Australia, to sell e-cigarettes that contain liquid nicotine, and illegal to sell any tobacco and e-cigarette product to minors. Some retailers are putting the health of young people at risk and ignoring the law.

People can seek quit support from health care professionals, such as their GP, or they can call the Quitline on 13 78 48, which provides a confidential, telephone-based service to help smokers quit.

In 2020-21, the NSW Government is investing $17.3 million on tobacco and e-cigarette control. This includes public awareness and education campaigns, quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of strong smoke-free and retailing laws, and targeted programs for vulnerable groups with high smoking rates.

Information is available in community languages on Important information for tobacco and e-cigarette retailers in NSW.