The Hazard

Tobacco smoke is a health hazard and has been directly linked to a range of serious diseases including lung cancer and heart disease.

The smoking of tobacco products (such as cigarettes) is not only a health hazard to the smoker but also to any person who is exposed to passive smoking through the breathing of air contaminated by tobacco smoke. Nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development.

The hazards associated with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or any vaping device that heats a liquid to produce a vapour that users inhale, may include the presence of the following hazardous substances:

  • Nicotine
  • In e-cigarette liquids and in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes:
    • Formaldehyde
    • Acetaldehyde
    • Scrolein (which are all known cancer-causing agents
  • Flavourings that have been linked to lung disease; and
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead that can cause acute and chronic toxic effects on body organs; and
  • Some chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols that can also cause DNA damage.

It may also be difficult to assess the safety of specific e-cigarettes and liquids because:

  • there are a wide variety of devices and liquids sold
  • their labels are often incomplete or incorrect; and/or
  • users can change the liquid that they use in their e-cigarette and how the device operates.


The health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping are subject to ongoing research.

Smoking is the use or consumption of smoking products.

Smoking products includes all tobacco products (eg cigarettes and all smokeless tobacco products), electronic cigarettes, non-tobacco smoking products and shishas.

Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes) or other vaping devices include devices that heat a liquid to produce a vapour that users inhale.

For the purposes of this policy, references to e-cigarettes include electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS), alternative nicotine delivery systems (ANDS), personal vaporisers, e-hookahs, vape pens and vapes.

The use of e-cigarettes is commonly known as ‘vaping’.

The College’s Policy

Presbyterian Ladies’ College is committed to providing a safe environment for all our students, workers and visitors.

It is our policy that:

  • the purchase, possession, supply or use of smoking or e-cigarette products by students is strictly prohibited on college premises, at college functions, excursions and camps, when representing the College, when wearing college uniform and in transit to or from college
  • the prohibition on smoking includes the use of e-cigarettes (vaping) whether or not the e-cigarette contains nicotine
  • Presbyterian Ladies’ College will confiscate all smoking products brought onto College premises by students
  • Presbyterian Ladies’ College will confiscate cigarette lighters, matches and other smoking-related products brought onto College premises by students
  • a student who is found to be supplying smoking products whether for payment or without payment to other students, may be referred to Police where this breaches legislation relating to the supply to students under the age of 18 years
  • Presbyterian Ladies’ College will provide information to parents/carers on the health risks of vaping and seek their support in reinforcing this policy including in relation to the confiscation of smoking products
  • all students will receive age-appropriate health education to enable and support them to make informed choices, and to minimise the harm associated with smoking
  • referrals to counselling and support groups may be provided to students with smoking-related problems
  • multi-function vapour detectors will be installed in all toilets and change room facilities to detect traces of cigarette smoke, vaping chemicals and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) oil vapours.

The Legislation

In addition to the college’s prohibition on smoking and vaping, all Australian states and territories have legislation with restrictions and sanctions in relation to smoking, including fines for selling of smoking products to persons under the aged of 18. Also see our Smoking (Staff) policy.

A prescription will be required to legally access nicotine-containing e-cigarette products for any purpose. This includes importing these products from overseas.

Some e-cigarette devices are designed to look like cigarettes or cigars, however, as some state or territory laws ban the sale of cigar or cigarette ‘look alike’ products, many e-cigarette versions look like memory sticks or pens.

Most e-cigarettes consist of four different components, including:

  • a cartridge, reservoir or pod, which holds a liquid solution (e-liquid or e-juice) containing varying amounts of nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals
  • a heating element (atomizer)
  • a power source (usually a battery); and
  • a mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale.

In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporises the liquid in the cartridge. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapour.

Visual representation of e-cigarette and vaping products can be found here.

Vaping does not cause the user to ‘smell like cigarette smoke’, as the smell dissipates quickly in the air. Younger children prefer sweet-flavoured e-juice, so this smell may linger on their breath or clothing.

Tobacco smoking and e-cigarettes which contain high levels of nicotine or similar alkaloids may leave the users with symptoms such as nausea, trembling and dizziness.

Dealing With a Student Who Breaches this Policy

If a staff member suspects that a student has breached this policy, through either the identification of smoking or e-cigarette products held by the student, or identification of symptoms associated with the student’s use of these products, they must:

  • confiscate and/or isolate any smoking products
  • request a student to empty their pockets or bags where the staff member suspects that they contain tobacco or e-cigarette products. A student’s consent will be required to proceed with the search. Refer to the Confiscation of Student Property policy
  • contact the Principal or other appropriate senior member of staff to inform them of the situation.

Actions by the Principal or other senior member of staff will include:

  • considering the welfare of the student suspected of purchasing, possessing, supplying or using smoking products
  • considering the welfare of the student population
  • contacting the student’s parents/guardians to inform them of the incident.

The Principal or other senior member of staff may also consider:

  • contacting counselling and support services for further referral in relation to the student
  • disciplinary consequences, according to our Student Discipline Policy
  • contacting the Police where tobacco or e-cigarette products have been supplied by an identified individual to students under the age of 18 years.

Staff Responsibility

All staff must ensure that they:

  • regularly check areas of the campus where this type of behaviour could occur
  • follow the guidelines set out in this policy when dealing with a student that they believe may have breached this policy
  • inform the Principal or other senior staff members if staff have reasonable grounds to suspect that a student has breached this policy.


This policy is implemented through a combination of:

  • staff training in the identification of vaping and e-cigarette products
  • staff training on identifying students who have been affected by vaping or e-cigarette products
  • informing and regularly reminding the college community (including students, staff and parents/guardians) about the guidelines set out in this policy
  • student education via ongoing age-appropriate smoking education programmes integrated into classroom learning
  • parent/guardian education regarding the identification of smoking or e-cigarette products and their effects on students; and
  • effective staff supervision of areas where smoking may (or is known to) occur.

The installation of multi-function vapour detectors in all toilets and change room facilities.

Where the college determines that monitoring is required to maintain the safety or security of staff, students, visitors or property as outlined in our Security (Buildings & Grounds) policy, the college may install security cameras within college buildings or otherwise on college premises for:

  • effective incident notification procedures
  • initiation of corrective actions where necessary; and/or
  • effective record-keeping procedures.


  • Nicotine
  • In e-cigarette liquids and in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes:
    • Formaldehyde
    • Acetaldehyde
    • Scrolein