The cost of vaping


Researchers from QIMR Berghofer medical Research Institute have warned that the increase in vaping prevalence could cost the Australian healthcare system upwards of $180 million each year.

QIMR Berghofer researcher Professor Louisa Gordon has conducted the nation’s first economic analysis of the cost of smoking vapes or e-cigarettes on the Australian healthcare system.

The findings published in Australian Health Review says 180 million annually will be needed to treat the increased numbers of people with respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This is in addition to the estimated 2.6 billion healthcare costs of the 25 smoking-related conditions.

Lung Foundation Australia General Manager of Policy, Advocacy and Prevention, Paige Preston, who collaborated on the research, said evidence continues to support government action to prevent and reduce use of vapes.

“The commendable action taken by government to get vapes out of school yards and corner stores, alongside other strategies, will likely result in significant healthcare savings, and importantly protect the lung health of so many Australians,” Ms Preston said.

“We need to see the reforms implemented and enforced as a priority for all jurisdictions, as well as enhancing education efforts and leading with empathy as we help people overcome vape and nicotine addiction without stigma.”

Professor Gordon said the many damaging impacts of e-cigarette use include addiction, poisoning, acute nicotine toxicity, seizures, burns, lung injury, and increased uptake of cigarette smoking.

“However, as a relatively new product, the harmful effects of e-cigarette use are not fully understood, and limited evidence exists for chronic health conditions arising from vaping,” she said.

“More research is needed to assess the true burden of e-cigarette use on people’s health and the resulting impact on the Australian healthcare sector and the nation’s economy.”