Is there such a thing as Secondhand Vapors?


We all know what secondhand cigarette smoke is and how unsafe it is for those exposed to it day in and day out. We also understand from the many studies out there that children, elderly and pregnant women should limit exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. So, does the same apply to vapor?

Because the majority of those asking are unfamiliar with the basic differences between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigs, the question comes up more than you think. Some have been comparing cigarette smoke and e-cig vapors as one would compare apples and lemons. Research and studies disprove this, indicating that a more appropriate comparison would be apples and something like agent orange. Sound like a stretch of the imagination? Not really, in my opinion.

When tobacco smoke is contained indoors, creates a film on every surface and is breathed in by non-smokers. The smoke itself is a result of flame consuming the tobacco leaves which contain tar and chemicals. Smoking indoors contributes to an increased rate of respiratory diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, recurring pneumonia and asthma. Children who are born to smokers, or live in a home with smoking adults are at a much higher risk of SIDS than those of non-smokers. Tobacco smoke is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and a major contributor to cardiovascular deaths due to secondhand smoke exposure each year.

What about the “smoke” from vapors? First of all, it isn’t smoke. It is, simply as the word states, vapor. Vapor in e-cigs does not come from burning substances, and there are no toxic byproducts given off. Vapor has evaporating properties, meaning that the air quality is not adversely affected long term. The particle concentration in vapor is such that even in a non-ventilated room, the air quality returns to baseline levels almost immediately. There were no noted participates on surfaces or lingering smells. This would make sense as most vape juices consist of non-toxic ingredients.

The term Secondhand Vapor seems to be something of a misnomer, one that more studies will hopefully turn around as the vaping industry grows and converts smokers to vaping.

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