News The Second Hand Vaping is Safe?

Smoking kills. The Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention claims that smoking is the leading cause of preventabledeath in the United States, accounting for one in every five deaths.

The deadly habit has prompted dozens ofstate and city-wide smoking bans indoors in workplaces, bars, restaurants andother public places over the last two-and-a-half decades.

As well as making smoking a less attractiveproposition, these bans also protect non-smoking bystanders.


Just as drink-drive laws protect innocentroad users from dangerous dunk drivers, smoking bans protect other people inthe vicinity of a smoker from inhaling their harmful fumes.

After all, the person sat across from asmoker in a bar or restaurant hasn’t personally assumedany risks - so why should they be exposed to risk by another person?

As vaping has grown in popularity, somelawmakers are seeking to apply the same logic to e-cigarettes.

But vaping and smoking are very different.And some arguments suggest that indoor vape bans actually hurt people who aretrying to switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbonmonoxide - two of the most harmful byproducts of combustible cigarettes.Extensive studies have shown that vaping is 95% safer than smoking.

E-cigarettes do, however, contain thepowerfully addictive chemical nicotine. And no-one can be completely certain ofthe long-term risks associated with vaping.

Several states have already passed lawsprohibiting vaping in places where smoking is also banned and thousands ofprivate bars, restaurants and workplaces have introduced their own bans.

In this blog post, we investigate whetherthey are right to do so by asking whether second hand vapor is safe.


Is Second HandVapor Safe?

As with a lot of vape science, there areconflicting accounts.

One small study from the Bavarian Healthand Food Safety Authority found that vaping worsened indoor air quality,specifically increasing the amount of nicotine, particulate matter, PAHs andaluminium.

Another study carried out in homes under ‘real-use’ conditionsfound that e-cigarettes did increase the airborne nicotine in homes, but homeswith combustible cigarette smokers had 5.7 times more airborne nicotine.

A third experiment, carried out in labconditions found that similar levels of serum cotinine (which is used tomeasure nicotine) in people exposed to combustible cigarette smoke and thoseexposed to electronic cigarettes.

This final group of researchers concludedthat short-term exposure to electronic cigarettes did not elicit a reduction inlung function or an increase in inflammation, which has been linked tocardiovascular disease. Volunteers that were exposed to second hand smoke fromcombustible cigarettes did experience these two negative functions.

Most of the studies concentrate on nicotinebecause this is one of the key byproducts released from e-cigarettes. It isimportant to understand exactly what nicotine is and how it causes harm.

Nicotine is in tobacco cigarettes, but byitself it is not the most damaging ingredient. Tar, carbon monoxide and otherdangerous chemicals are chiefly responsible for serious illnesses and deathcaused by cancer, lung and heart disease.

Nicotine is a dangerous in tobacco becauseit is highly addictive and gets smokers hooked on other dangerous carcinogens,which are either not found or are found in much lower levels in electroniccigarettes.

Public Health England looked closely atnicotine exposure in two landmark evidence reviews.

In their report ‘E-cigarettes:an evidence update,’ scientists found: “EC [E-cigarette] exhalations contained eight times less nicotinethan cigarette exhalations. Estimating environmental nicotine exposure,however, has to take into account the fact that side-stream smoke (ie the smokefrom the lighted end of the cigarette, which is produced regardless of whetherthe smoker is puffing or not) accounts for some 85% of passive smoking andthere is no side-stream EC vapour. A study measuring nicotine residue onsurfaces in houses of smokers and vapers reported only negligible levels fromvaping, 169 times lower than from smoking.

Another study by the Royal College ofPhysicians was clearer. “There is, so far, no direct evidence that such passive exposure islikely to cause significant harm,” they found.

Do Indoor BansHurt Vapers?

Many vapers use e-cigarettes as a way ofgetting nicotine without smoking. Although e-cigarettes are not approved by theFDA as a stop smoking aid, many vapers use the devices to switch.

One of the main arguments in favor ofallowing e-cigarette use indoors and in public places is that it can encouragemore tobacco users to make the switch to e-cigarettes.

As well as the relative health and costfactors, being indoors is a powerful incentive for smokers that are thinkingabout ditching tobacco in favor of e-cigs.

After years of huddling in dustyentranceways and freezing cold smoking shelters, they might once again bewelcomed back into civil society at the same time as getting a nicotine fix.

This could encourage more people to ditchtobacco, which is a key health policy objective in the United States. Butindoor vaping bans would remove this incentive.

Allowing vaping in places where smoking isnot permitted could also minimize the discomfort and withdrawal symptoms thatvapers experience when they are forced to share a smoking area with tobaccousers.

People who have tried to ditch tobacco willknow that cigarette cravings are powerful and sometimes mysterious.

Being around other people who smoke -whether it is at home, at work or while out socializing - can be a powerfultrigger for smokers that are trying to ditch tobacco.

You may feel a strong temptation to smokewhen you are watching someone else smoking or smell the smoke from a cigarette.

Most stop smoking advice will tell you toavoid cigarette smokers if you can, but if you are forced to share a smokingarea with tobacco users then this becomes very difficult.