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Second Hand Vaping is Harmless

Second Hand Vaping is Harmless

8th Mar 2019

For a long time, there has been a question mark over the safety of vaping in terms of whether the vapour an e-cigarette produces can harm passive vapers. A passive vaper inadvertently breathes in the flavoured vapour produced by an e-liquid, despite not being a vaper themselves. Yet another study has been released, which confirms that second-hand vaping is harmless.

The Passive Vaping and Passive Smoking Confusion

Some confusion surrounding second-hand vapour stems from a lack of understanding about vaping and smoking. Smoking is an enjoyable hobby where flavoured e-liquids contain:

  • A base (vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol).
  • Water flavourings.
  • Nicotine (nicotine-free e-liquids are available).

Vapour is produced, which can be inhaled/exhaled via e-cigarette.

Smoking involves the burning of chemical-filled tobacco and breathing in the toxic smoke (toxic as confirmed by the World Health Organisation). Quite the difference.

As you can see, vaping and smoking are not as similar as you might have originally thought. Smoking has been proven extremely harmful to health, both for smokers and those who breathe in tobacco smoke that they enter without wanting to. The dangers of passive smoking went a long way towards implementing the Go Smoke-Free legislation of 2007, which banned public smoking in many places, and the later addition, which has made it illegal to smoke in a car with minors. On the other hand, vaping has proven not dangerous to others.

Understanding Second-Hand Vaping: What You Need to Know

As vaping continues to gain popularity as an alternative to traditional smoking, concerns surrounding second-hand vaping have also emerged. Second-hand vaping, often called passive or environmental vaping, occurs when non-vapers are exposed to the aerosol exhaled by e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. To grasp the implications of this phenomenon, it's essential to explore key points about second-hand vaping.

1. Composition of Aerosol: Second-hand vaping exposes individuals to an aerosol produced by e-cigarettes, which typically consists of fine particles, flavourings, nicotine, and other potentially harmful chemicals. While these substances' levels are generally lower than traditional cigarette smoke, they are not entirely harmless.

2. Health Risks: Research on the health effects of second-hand vaping is still in its infancy, but preliminary studies suggest that exposure to aerosol could adversely affect respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Fine particles in the aerosol can penetrate deep into the lungs, potentially causing irritation and inflammation.

3. Nicotine Exposure: Although second-hand exposure to nicotine through vaping is lower than traditional smoking, it is not negligible, especially in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. Nicotine is an addictive substance, and even small amounts can impact vulnerable populations like children, pregnant women, and individuals with certain health conditions.

4. Regulations and Policies: Governments worldwide have been implementing regulations to address concerns related to second-hand vaping. These measures often include restrictions on vaping in public places, similar to smoking bans, to protect non-vapers from potential harm.

5. Vaping Etiquette: Practicing vaping etiquette is essential to minimise the impact on others. Vapers should be mindful of their surroundings and avoid vaping in crowded areas or near children and non-smokers. Educating vapers about responsible vaping can foster a more considerate vaping community.

6. Knowledge Gap: While the risks of second-hand vaping are becoming clearer, there still needs to be a significant knowledge gap in understanding the long-term effects. Further research is needed to comprehend the implications of regular exposure to vaping aerosol fully.

7. Safer Alternatives: Some vaping devices are designed to produce lower amounts of aerosol, reducing potential harm to both users and bystanders. Switching to such devices can be a proactive step towards mitigating the impact of second-hand vaping.

Vaping vs. Smoking: Comparing the Risks for Non-Vapers

The debate between vaping and smoking has intensified over the years, with both practices being scrutinised for potential health risks. While it is well-known that smoking poses significant dangers to both smokers and non-smokers through secondhand smoke exposure, vaping has brought new concerns.

Risks of Smoking for Non-Vapers:

Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Non-vapers exposed to secondhand smoke from traditional cigarettes risk inhaling a toxic mix of chemicals, including carcinogens and metals. Prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and an increased risk of lung cancer. Children and individuals with pre-existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable.

Thirdhand Smoke: Thirdhand smoke refers to the residual tobacco smoke that lingers on surfaces, such as furniture, walls, and clothing, long after the cigarette has been extinguished. Non-vapers, especially infants and young children, can inadvertently ingest or inhale these harmful particles, leading to potential health issues.

Risks of Vaping for Non-Vapers:

Aerosol Inhalation: E-cigarettes produce an aerosol commonly known as vapour, which contains nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals. Non-vapers exposed to this aerosol may experience irritation of the eyes, throat, and lungs. Although e-cigarette vapour generally contains fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, the long-term effects of inhaling these aerosols are still under investigation.

Unknown Chemical Exposure: The ingredients in e-liquids and their potential long-term effects still need to be fully understood. Non-vapers exposed to secondhand vapour may also inhale tiny particles and potentially harmful chemicals, raising concerns about respiratory health and other related risks.

Scientific Insights on Second-Hand Vaping

Second-hand vaping, also known as passive vaping or environmental tobacco smoke, refers to inhaling aerosolised substances produced by electronic cigarettes or vaping devices by non-users in the vicinity of active vapers. As the popularity of vaping increases, concerns about its potential health impacts on both users and bystanders have grown. This section delves into the scientific information surrounding the impact of second-hand vaping on individuals exposed to aerosols.

Composition of Second-Hand Vaping Aerosols

Second-hand vaping aerosols consist of fine particles suspended in the air and various chemicals released during the heating and vaporisation of e-liquids. These aerosols typically contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other potentially harmful substances.

Unlike traditional cigarette smoke, second-hand vaping aerosols generally have lower harmful components, but their impact on human health is negligible.

Health Implications for Bystanders

Scientific studies have shown that exposure to second-hand vaping aerosols can adversely affect bystanders. However, the magnitude of these effects varies depending on factors such as the ventilation of the area, the frequency of vaping, and the overall duration of exposure.

Respiratory Effects: Inhalation of second-hand vaping aerosols can irritate the respiratory system, leading to coughing, throat irritation, and shortness of breath. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, may experience exacerbated symptoms.

Nicotine Exposure: Second-hand vaping aerosols contain nicotine, which can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled by bystanders. Prolonged exposure to nicotine may have systemic effects on cardiovascular health and pose risks, especially to pregnant women and children.

Ultrafine Particles: The ultrafine particles in second-hand vaping aerosols can penetrate the respiratory system, potentially causing inflammation and contributing to respiratory problems.

VOCs and Toxins: Some studies have detected the presence of harmful VOCs and toxins in second-hand vaping aerosols. Although lower than conventional cigarette smoke, these substances can still pose health risks.

Regulatory Measures and Public Health Awareness

Many countries have implemented regulations to restrict vaping in public places, similar to smoking bans, to address the concerns surrounding second-hand vaping. These measures aim to protect non-users from involuntary exposure to vaping aerosols.

The Study and Some Vaping Home Truths

A recent study from the United State’s California Department of Public Health shows that, as expected, second-hand vapour is harmless to vapers. Researchers ran comprehensive tests on the air inside vaping shops, where there is generally a lot of vaping going on, a lot of vapour and not a massive amount of ventilation (compared to the amount of vapour).

This environment provided a worst-case scenario for the testing, so when the results came up clean, it again showed that second-hand vapour is harmless. None of the chemicals, twenty in total, were present. This study again shows that vaping is as far away from smoking as it can be while offering a healthier alternative for the smoker.

This study solidifies the stance that Public Health England has made here in the UK. Last year, Public Health England (PHE) released their much-awaited vaping review, in which they confirmed findings that vaping is at least ninety-five per cent less harmful than smoking. We expect the “at least” part of the equation to disappear and vaping to be classed as 100% less harmful once studies have been continued over a longer period.

Not only have PHE, supported by many scientists, researchers, NHS professionals, health experts (and more), advertised their findings about vaping being healthier, they have proactively worked, and continue to work, to make vaping more accessible, are looking to see e-cigarettes recognised as official medical cessation devices and have made it very clear that they support smokers in moving over to vaping to ditch their harmful previous habit and enjoy a healthier life.

Formaldehyde Level Concerns

Many have voiced concerns about the level of formaldehyde they expected to find in vaping vapour. The study showed that the amount of formaldehyde found in the samples was consistent with the amount usually found in “normal” air, indoors and out, eliminating any concerns.

Here at Go Smoke-Free, we assure you that our fabulous e-liquids are all TPD-approved and adhere to safe levels and best practices.

Dr Seigel Speaks

Dr Seigel, a well-known and respected public health expert, has made it clear that even though the study took place in a situation that showed significantly higher levels of vaping vapour, the team did not record any dangerous levels of exposure. Nicotine exposure was non-present, as was formaldehyde, with no chemicals linked with smoking ailments such as popcorn lung being detected.

Based on these findings, Dr Seigel reports that there is no real health-related reason to ban vaping indoors and in public, as passive vaping does not cause any harm to vapers or non-vapers whatsoever.

There are misconceptions about vaping, such as teen vaping and smoking, and it's great to see studies confirming these stories or concerns and others as untrue.

A Call For Transparent Reporting On Vaping Topics

Some media outlets around the globe have chosen to write or speak with bias. Media bias is well-recognised and almost expected. A recent article about vaping indoors takes us to this.

Recently an article appeared in the Bulletin Journal, the journal associated with the World Health Organisation. The piece was about how the author strongly believed banning indoor vaping was necessary. The peer-review piece was, however, written by someone fiercely anti-vaping, although this still needs to be made clear and added bias, despite them being written so away as to avoid this bias becoming too obvious carefully.

We’ve written about media bias in the past. However, this takes things to a new level. The paper focused on the need to ban indoor vaping, much like smoking has been banned indoors (although we must point out here that vaping and smoking are entirely different).

The leading author, Nick Wilson, who is named as an expert in the field coming out of Otago Univesity (Dept of Public Health section), does state he has no opposing interests in this debate, although this is simply not true. We know this from his previous record of sharing the opinion that vaping will encourage ex-smokers to restart the habit.

We have also seen Wilson advocate against vaping because he believes second-hand vapour harms those nearby. Scientific facts and numerous independent statistical reviews and studies have debunked these opinions. Yet, the fact that they are used as part of the argument in the article is as worrying as it is unprofessional. The fact that he has likened vaping to the use of cannabis in certain European countries is problematic if, as it would seem, this article claims to be entirely unbiased when it is not.

Sadly (infuriatingly), once something has been featured in the WHO’s Bulletin Journal, it takes on credibility because it has been featured in such a well-recognised and respected publication.

The concern remains that you have someone who has been publically and staunchly anti-vaping producing an article which contains concerning statements regarding vaping, statements that evidence has already shown not to be true. Given this, how could the general public expect such a paper to be unbiased? If you hadn’t read this post first or known something about the supposed bias, you could easily take the information in this article as true, particularly given that it is published in the Bulletin.

This is just one example of how reporting on vaping may be done with bias. This might result in sharing misinformation, willingly or accidentally, which may stop people from moving from smoking to vaping. That in itself is a concern as Public Health England, the government department responsible for the Go Smoke-Free ban in England, has advocated for e-cigarettes as cessation devices as a harm reduction method, calling them at least 95% healthier than smoking.

Indoor Vaping Etiquette: Respecting Non-Vapers in Public Spaces

While vaping may be less intrusive than smoking, it is crucial to remember that not everyone appreciates or tolerates vapour in public spaces. Practising considerate behaviour is essential to ensure a harmonious coexistence between vapers and non-vapers. Here are some key points to consider when navigating vaping in public settings.

Know the Rules: Before indulging in your favourite e-liquid, it is vital to familiarise yourself with the vaping regulations of the specific location you are in. Many public spaces, including restaurants, shopping malls, airports, and public transport, have policies regarding vaping. Always respect designated vaping areas or seek permission from the management before vaping.

Be Mindful of Others: Non-vapers might be sensitive to the smell, sight, or sound of vaping. Try to be discreet when using your vape device. Choose less obtrusive models, avoid blowing large clouds of vapour, and refrain from making excessive noise while vaping.

Ask for Consent: When in the presence of others, asking for their permission before vaping is courteous. Seek consent from friends, family, or colleagues, especially in enclosed spaces like cars or private rooms. Considering their preferences will strengthen your relationships and foster a positive vaping experience.

Proper Disposal of Waste: Responsibly discard empty e-liquid bottles, used pods, and other vaping-related waste. Never litter public spaces with vaping materials, as this reflects poorly on vapers and contributes to environmental pollution. Carry a small bag for disposing of your vaping waste until you find an appropriate trash bin.

Educate Others: Be willing to educate those who may not be familiar with vaping or harbour misconceptions about it. Calmly and respectfully respond to inquiries and correct any misinformation. A well-informed approach can help dispel negative perceptions and promote a better understanding of vaping as a harm-reduction tool.

Exercise Restraint: While vaping can be an enjoyable experience, remember that moderation is key. Prolonged and frequent vaping sessions in public spaces can make non-vapers uncomfortable. Consider the duration and frequency of your vaping sessions, especially in shared environments.

Second-Hand Vaping and Children: Ensuring Child Safety

Second-hand vaping, the inhalation of exhaled e-cigarette aerosol by non-users, is a growing concern, particularly regarding children's safety. As vaping continues to gain popularity, it is essential to address potential risks associated with second-hand exposure, especially in settings where children are present, such as camping trips. This section will delve into specific safety measures to protect children from the harmful effects of second-hand vaping during camping activities.

Educate Parents and Guardians:

The first step in ensuring child safety during camping trips is to educate parents and guardians about the risks of second-hand vaping. Many may not be aware that exhaled e-cigarette aerosol contains harmful substances, including nicotine and fine particles, which can adversely affect children's respiratory systems. Providing clear information on the dangers of second-hand vaping will empower adults to take preventive actions and create a safer environment for young campers.

Designate Vaping Areas:

For camping sites that allow vaping, it is crucial to establish designated vaping areas away from common gathering spots for children. This separation helps to minimise the chances of second-hand exposure and reduces the likelihood of children being inadvertently exposed to vaping emissions. Clear signage and communication about these designated areas will remind campers to vape responsibly and protect the children's well-being.

Encourage Smoke-Free and Vape-Free Camping:

Promoting a completely smoke-free and vape-free camping environment is the most effective way to safeguard children from second-hand vaping risks. Camp organisers and authorities should consider implementing a strict policy prohibiting smoking and vaping in campgrounds to protect children and adult non-users from potential health hazards. By embracing a smoke-free and vape-free camping ethos, we create a healthier and safer experience for everyone involved.

Lead by Example:

Adult campers should be responsible for setting a positive example by not smoking or vaping around children. It protects children from second-hand vaping and instils the importance of making healthy choices. Demonstrating responsible behaviour will foster a culture of child safety and well-being within the camping community.

Second-Hand Vaping Is Indeed Safe: Now What?

We’ve established that vaping is safe, and there is no danger from passive vapour to no vapers. Now we, vapers, retailers and anyone involved in the vaping industry or public health world, must continue dispelling the myths. The more people understand what are in e-liquids, how e-cigarettes work, and the difference between vaping and smoking, the more likely smokers will switch over.

The more, the merrier as far as we are concerned because the more people vape, the fewer people will smoke. The fewer people who smoke, the better the health of nature will be, the less straight there will be on the NHS, and the environmental costs associated with smoking will lessen.

Advocating for Vaping as a Safer Alternative

Vaping, the act of inhaling vapour produced by electronic cigarettes, has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional smoking. Advocating for vaping as a safer alternative stems from mounting evidence suggesting it poses fewer health risks than combustible tobacco products. Here are some specific details highlighting why vaping is considered a safer option:

Reduced Harmful Chemicals: Unlike conventional cigarettes that involve combustion and produce thousands of harmful chemicals, vaping devices heat e-liquids, which typically contain fewer toxic substances. By avoiding combustion, vaping minimises exposure to harmful compounds like tar and carbon monoxide, which cause serious health issues.

Nicotine Control: Vaping offers greater flexibility in managing nicotine intake. E-liquids come in varying nicotine concentrations, allowing users to gradually reduce their nicotine consumption or even opt for nicotine-free options. This controlled approach can aid those looking to quit smoking, ultimately promoting better respiratory health.

Absence of Secondhand Smoke: Vaping generates a water-based vapour that dissipates quickly, resulting in a significantly lower risk of secondhand smoke exposure. This is particularly advantageous in public spaces and indoor environments, where secondhand smoke from traditional cigarettes can pose health hazards to non-smokers.

Temperature Regulation: Unlike smoking, which exposes users to high temperatures, vaping devices enable temperature control, reducing the likelihood of producing harmful byproducts by overheating e-liquids.

Transition Tool for Smokers: Advocates argue that vaping is useful for smokers seeking to quit. By providing a similar hand-to-mouth action and sensory experience, vaping can alleviate some of the challenges associated with quitting cold turkey.

However, it is crucial to note that while vaping is considered safer than smoking, it is not entirely risk-free. Potential side effects warrant continuous research and regulation, especially when used by non-smokers and young adults.

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