Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs or vapes), are not real cigarettes. They are battery-operated devices that release vaporised nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, for the user to inhale. They aim to resemble a cigarette by providing similar sensations to inhaling tobacco smoke, but without burning tobacco.

E-cigarettes are normally used by people who already smoke, as a method to help them quit. However, if you don’t already smoke, it’s best to avoid them, as they contain the addictive substance nicotine, found in cigarettes.

Although less harmful than real cigarettes, their effects on health is still unknown, so research into e-cigarette safety continues. There are also lots of different brands, and the additional ingredients and flavourings in some of these can be harmful.

E-cigarettes and the Law

E-cigarettes are illegal to buy if you are under 18. It is also illegal for someone else to buy an e-cigarette for you if you are under 18.

Whilst it isn’t technically illegal for under 18s to carry an e-cigarette, the police can confiscate it from you if you are under 16 and found with one in public.