Should Vaper’s Worry About Secondhand Vapor?

August 15, 2017

Cigarettes and tobacco are old news – vaping is the fast-growing trend now. Almost everywhere we look, there is at least one person who puffs and exhales an opaque cloud of vapor from a batter-operated or electronic cigarette. Many have switched to vapes as, unlike actual cigarettes, these deliver nicotine through a vapor instead of the combustion system of traditional cigarettes. Combustion involves fire, tobacco, and the emission of toxic chemicals – which are widely believed to be missing from vapes, thus the idea of it being safer.

However, while this is the consensus among people nowadays, with some believing that vapes are not only safer but the harmful side-effects of traditional smoking are altogether nonexistent with vaping, several research teams have begun to analyze the effects of secondhand vapor.

England’s health sector’s research revealed that vape and e-cigarettes are 95% safer than conventional tobacco and cigars, but this does not necessarily mean that there is no existence of dangers lying beneath in terms of health factors. In fact, even the “safest” vape juice may even contain certain chemicals that can alter one’s health.

There are many studies nowadays that aim to investigate and prove that e-cigarettes may pose similar health problems and hazards as that of regular smoking – from short-term changes in the respiratory functions to potential threats laced within certain flavorings or juices that may be linked to lung disease. While e-cigarettes may technically have fewer carcinogens than regular cigarettes, they still contain nicotine, which is known to impair brain development and cause mood disorders among adolescent users.


What Causes the General Fear?

This concern may stem from the ingredients of the vape juice itself, as it contains the actual chemicals that is absorbed by the user when vaping. An e-liquid typically contains:

  • Nicotine – Don’t be fooled by the “nicotine-free” label, because it is still present in traceable amounts even in those cases. In fact, almost all e-cigarettes have them, as discovered by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in their lab test. Moreover, a 2014 study found that the amount of nicotine and the amount indicated on the label is often substantially different.
  • Propylene Glycol (Base) – Propylene glycol is the most commonly used base for electronic cigarettes. It is a humectant, meaning it keeps things moist. It is a very thick, yet runny substance that makes you It tends to burn through your liquid a little faster than you might otherwise. The propylene on its own offers no taste, so it won’t interfere with the flavors of your liquid. It offers a strong, pleasing hit to the back of your throat, much like tobacco does.
  • Vegetable Glycerin (Base) – The vegetable glycerin is now considered an alternative to PG because of the many recorded allergic reactions from the former. In comparison, this liquid base is a little thicker and sweeter. There is a distinctive taste to it that, while slight, will affect the flavoring a little bit. Less people tend to develop or have allergic reactions with vegetable glycerin, but some people have complained about a phlegm buildup after using the vegetable base.
  • Flavoring – There has been a lot of debate on whether the flavoring is actually harmful, though that is still being studied on and debated. Nevertheless, vape users often make decisions on their vape juice depending on the flavor that they want.

As it is a fast-growing trend these days, many people have now asked an important question:


Is Vape Smoke Dangerous?

Here’s what Vape Icon’s infographic has to say on this issue:

WebMD reports that while electronic cigarettes may have fewer hazardous chemicals than regular cigarette smoke, researchers still don’t put ‘vaping’ in the clear. Moreover, the health organization also warns the public of the hazardous chemicals in e-cig vapor actually make it into the lungs of people nearby, specifically in enclosed spaces.

“Generally speaking, e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes,” said study author Arian Saffari, a graduate student with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California. However, “we can still find some hazardous material in e-cigarette smoke,” Saffari noted. “And therefore, we cannot leave e-cigarettes unregulated.”

Initiatives to regulate e-cigarettes are campaigned by the World Health Organization, as well as the American Heart Association (AHA), along with other health agencies, particularly advertising and marketing it to the youth. The same organization has found in one study that youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising rose 250 percent from 2011 to 2013, and now reaches roughly 24 million young people.

In another study conducted in Milan, Italy, researchers analyzed the air in an office space at a cancer research center. Two men and a woman smoked either regular cigarettes or the electronic variation. They found that hazardous substances known as “particulates” – liquid or solid particles – were 10 times higher in the cigarette smoke than in the e-cig vapor.

But then again, these findings are more likely to affect the first-hand users. Dr. Andy McEwen, executive director of the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, says that there’s no evidence that second-hand e-cigarette vapor is dangerous to others. He just advices e-cigarette users to be responsible by properly storing their e-cigarettes and liquids away safely, away from children and young adults.


Although there are still no definitive evidence that second hand vapor from e-cigarettes are dangerous and hazardous to the public health, this doesn’t mean that vapers have the right to blow their puffs in everyone’s faces, or even to do it anywhere they want. Many people are still wary of second-hand smoke, for every year an estimated 53,800 people die from secondhand smoke exposure.

E-cigarettes may be beneficial for people who want to quit smoking, but, in turn, it is also helpful to warrant the non-smokers’ widespread acceptance of it.

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