Vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking. It does not rely on combustion, which gives off carbon monoxide, and e-liquid consists of food-grade ingredients, without the numerous chemicals needed to prepare tobacco leaves.
If you are like most vapers, shifting to e-cigs from traditional cigarettes is a health-conscious choice. Whether it is for yourself or your family, the bottom line is choosing to live a healthier lifestyle. However, what about the health of those around us? What effects does the vapor we exhale have on the people around us?
Various Studies Yielding Various Results
There have been several studies conducted on the effects of second-hand vapor, and most have yielded varying results. However, all agree that second-hand vapor is not as harmful as second-hand smoke.
In a Study done by Utah Vapers and FlavourArt in Milan, Italy, it states that, “In December 2011, the Utah Vapers began working closely with FlavourArt from Milan Italy to research the current studies on electronic cigarettes. What we found is a lack of evidence to support the belief we all had in that there was no harm to bystanders in exhaled vapor (second-hand vapor). After months of coordination, Clearstream Air was announced to the world electronic cigarette community on 22 March 2012 – also known as World Vaping Day.”
The study measured the following substances exhaled in both cigarette smoke and e-cig vapor:
– Carbon Monoxide
– Nitrogen Oxides
– Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
– Volatile Organic Compounds
– Total Organic Carbon
– Glycerin and propylene glycol
The result of the study found that there are NO harmful compounds found in second-hand vapor.
However, before one starts exhaling vapor in front of children, some experts think that there may be some degree of harm involved and that vapers should be subject to the same regulations as cigarette smoke.
Stanton Glantz, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control at the University of California says, “Yes, the levels of toxic exposure that an electronic cigarette generates is lower, but there are several carcinogens that have been identified so far, and we haven’t identified everything that’s in these formulas.
“I don’t buy the harm reduction argument that just because these are less polluting than conventional cigarettes it makes them acceptable. If you have a roomful of people vaping, you will still be getting pollution levels. Compared to traditional cigarettes, sure, these aren’t as bad. Compared to clean air, they are.”
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration says, “More data is needed to determine the constituents in e-cigarette aerosols and the potential risks of secondhand exposure.”
What’s for certain, however, is that even if second-hand vapor does contain harmful compounds, it is fewer compared to cigarette smoke, and the levels are significantly lower.
The Bottom Line
Vaping is relatively new, and more studies are required to declare conclusively whether it is safer than smoking. The same goes for second-hand vapor. However, based on what is known so far, many doctors and experts agree that second-hand vapor if much safer than second-hand smoke.
While some harmful elements can be found in second-hand vapor, Peter Hajek, professor of clinical psychology at Barts and The London Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of London, he says, “regarding the most dangerous chemicals released by tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapor contains none. Other chemicals it does contain are mostly a small fraction of those from cigarettes, and the metal compounds it releases are at levels unlikely to pose a risk.”
Nevertheless, despite the current studies that show the relative harmlessness of second-hand vapor, e-cig users should still practice common courtesy and vape only in designated smoking areas, away from non-smokers.
In the end, whether safe or not, all vapers should be responsible enough to keep their vapor to themselves.