Skip to main content

The dangers of nicotine in vaping liquid

Nicotine in vaping liquid (or e-liquid), the fluid used in vaping products or e-cigarettes, can cause poisoning.

It can make someone very ill or even kill them.  A young child can die from a very small amount of nicotine. 

Vaping liquid can poison somebody when they:

  • swallow it

  • spill it on their skin or get it in their eyes

  • are a child and they puff on an e-cigarette.

How do I know if there is nicotine in vaping liquid?

It’s safest to treat all vaping products as if they contain nicotine because most do, even if it’s not on the label.

If you need to call for help or seek medical care, try to have with you any packaging, leaflets or vaping liquid containers that has any information about the contents of the vaping liquid.

Who should I call?


Urgently call 000 when you suspect:

  • A child has swallowed any amount of vaping liquid

  • A child has puffed on an e-cigarette or spilled vaping liquid onto their skin or splashed into their eyes.


Urgently call 000 for an ambulance if you suspect an adult has swallowed vaping liquid and they have any symptoms of nicotine poisoning (see below) . If they do not feel ill urgently call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26

Vaping liquid spilt on skin or splashed in the eye and vaping too much nicotine can also cause symptoms of poisoning (see below). If you suspect this has happened, urgently call the Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26 or urgently call 000 if they feel ill.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 at any time.  The Poisons Information Centre will answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What are the signs of nicotine poisoning?

Nicotine poisoning can happen quickly. 

Typical symptoms of nicotine poisoning may include some or all of the following:

  • burning of the mouth and throat (if swallowed)

  • nausea, vomiting, pain in the stomach or gut, or diarrhoea

  • drooling, sweating, feeling clammy, looking pale

  • finding it hard to breathe

  • feeling dizzy, faint, confused, headache

  • being twitchy, hyped up

  • heart beating rapidly and uneven heartbeats

  • convulsions, seizures

Symptoms usually appear within the first hour and a half after exposure.

Keep out of reach of children

Most e-cigarettes and vaping products are not made with basic safety features. To prevent an accidental exposure:

  • lock vaping products out of sight when not in use

  • do not use vaping products in front of children 

  • keep vaping products away from pets.

Keep children and pets away from spills. E-cigarettes and vaping liquid containers may leak. Be careful not to touch any spills with bare skin and wash any spills on skin with water only – do not use soap.

More information about vaping liquid can be found here

Information about teen vaping, including resources for parents, teachers and teens, can be found at

Disclaimer: The information provided on this webpage is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional advice. Quit Victoria makes every effort to ensure accuracy, however it is important to note that information is subject to change and individual variations in health and circumstances may affect the risks associated with vaping. Quit Victoria disclaims any liability for the use or misuse of the information provided and strongly encourages users to consult with healthcare professionals for personalised advice. For more information see the general disclaimer here

If you would like to provide feedback, please contact

Last updated August 2023.

Back to top of page