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Is Second Hand Vape Bad?
The trajectory vaping is taking paints a clear picture that it is around to stay. It has been around for over a decade, but it’s still not yet fully understood. While the long-term effects of vaping are still under research, enough is known to determine that vaping doesn’t pose the same great risks as combustible cigarettes.
More is known about the risks that vaping has on bystanders than the vaper. Scientists have done an excellent job of determining the constituents present in "secondhand vapour.”
What is Second hand Vape?
Secondhand vapour is the vapour exhaled into the atmosphere by an e-cigarette user. In some aspects, secondhand vapour is similar to smoke. For instance, it lingers in the air long enough for anyone in the same room to inhale some of it.
However, there are differences between smoke and vapour. One of them is that smoke is a product of combustion. Burning any substance with fire, including wood, leaves, building materials, or even tobacco, produces carcinogenic, volatile gasses, carbon monoxide and solid particles.
Secondhand smoke isn’t as dangerous as inhaling directly from a cigarette. But being exposed to it for long is considered hazardous.
E-cigarettes have a small metal coil in the atomiser. The heat from the coil turns the e-juice into the vapour you see. Unlike smoke, vapour from the e-cig doesn't contain carbon monoxide or tar. The particles in the vapour are liquid, not solid.
Depending on the type and quality of the vape liquid, toxic chemicals and metals are found in the vapour but in tiny quantities. The level of toxicant found in the vapour are minute compared to those found in smoke, and the dangers of secondhand vaping are less significant.
What is in Second hand Vape?
When vaping, all the vapour you see comes from the mouth of the vaper. There's no side vapour as with cigarettes, where some smoke streams from the cigarette itself. The vaper has to inhale to produce the vapour.
By the time they exhale the vapour, it contains less of the substances that were inhaled. Most have been absorbed by the vapers mouth, throat and lungs. There aren’t enough of the already-scarce toxicants left to make secondhand vapour a concern.
Secondhand vapour contains propylene glycol and glycerine, which make up the base of all e-liquids. According to a leading toxicologist, even though the composition of inhaled vapour might attract extra attention, there is very little contamination in the exhaled vapour. It is unlikely to cause any risk to bystanders.
For those that might be concerned about thirdhand nicotine. While some of the unabsorbed nicotine might settle on floors and furniture, it’s minimal because the user retains 93.8% of the inhaled nicotine.
There is no plausible mechanism of how the unabsorbed nicotine can be absorbed into the body and cause physical harm at such low concentrations.
It is also worth noting that particles of vaping are liquid, and they don't seem to affect air quality. One study found that vaping had no measurable effect on indoor air quality. Other studies conducted in vape shops have also shown that levels of toxicants from vaping are below occupational exposure limits, with nicotine being practical absent in all the samples tested.
Is Second hand Vape Dangerous?
The department of Public Health England analysed several new studies of passive exposure and concluded that there have been no identified health risks associated with passing vaping to bystanders.
Another study by Igor Burstyn assessed the possible dangers of secondhand vaping and attempted to estimate potential exposure from the aerosols produced by e-cigs and compared these to occupation exposures. This study concluded that, "Exposures of bystandars are likely to be orders of magnitude less, and pose no apparent concern.”
Burstyn meant that the exposure to toxic chemicals in the secondhand vapour is so minimal that it poses no real threat.
Whatever the risk is to the user, it is 10 or 100 or even 1,000 to 10,000 times lower for the bystander.
Although secondhand vaping is seemingly harmless to others, that's not to say that vapers should vape everywhere without regard to the wishes of others. The concern for family and friends needs to be respected. Vapers should always be courteous and respectful and vape outside where possible. Extra caution should be exercised if someone has asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Vapers should also use good judgment when vaping around children and pets. The only sure way to prevent any possible side effects is by avoiding secondhand vapour altogether.