Vaping – Health harms: evidence briefing

This briefing provides an overview of known health harms caused by vaping and existing research gaps on long-term effects of vaping and health risks for the youngest vapers.


This evidence briefing is based on a search and analysis of scholarly research on the health harms of vaping carried out between December 2022 and November 2023.

The search was conducted on a number of search engines: KandE (a Scottish Government resource covering several databases), Google Scholar, PubMed and ScienceDirect. It included the following terms: "ENDS", "e-cigarettes", "vapes", "vaping", "health harms", "harm reduction", "health risks", "addiction", "nicotine", "biomarkers", "dual use", "young people", "children", "adolescents", "teenagers".

Twenty-four papers/reports were selected and reviewed (opinion pieces and editorials were excluded). Of these, eight were systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, hence have been prioritised and represent the core sources used to write this briefing. No critical appraisal of the evidence they examined was undertaken.

In this briefing we make reference to "vaping products" to describe both nicotine and non-nicotine devices used to inhale an aerosol. The sources analysed here adopt different terms and definitions. For accuracy and in order to preserve the original meaning, the terminology chosen by the authors of each review has been retained when summarising their findings.



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