Is Secondhand Vaping Something to Be Concerned About
by Alan Johnson on Jul 19, 2022
Is Secondhand Vaping Something to Be Concerned About?
Since the discovery that smoking can lead to diseases such as lung cancer, people have become increasingly concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke on the people around smokers. "Second-hand smoke" refers to the smoke that bystanders near someone who is smoking may inadvertently inhale.
Now the world has been hit with a new nicotine trend in the form of vaping. Initially intended to ween nicotine addicts from the carcinogenic effects of cigarette smoke, vapes have taken the world by storm. They have been rapidly increasing in sales over the past ten years, in part due to the introduction of disposable vapes.
Is Secondhand Vapor Harmful as Secondhand Smoke?
The vaping trend has become an object of concern amongst people concerned with vapor's long-term health effects. This has also resulted in people questioning whether 'second-hand' vapor may lead to negative health effects, much like second-hand smoke.
Workplace standards for exposure to inhaled chemicals and metals can be used to help answer the question of second-hand vapor. Scientists have used this information to determine that there are toxic constituents present in second-hand smoke, meaning there is a likelihood that second-hand vaping could be an object of concern.
What is Second-hand Vapor?
Following on from the same logic as second-hand smoke, second-hand vapor, which is actually a form of an aerosol, is the vapor exhaled into the atmosphere by the user of an e-cigarette. While both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes typically include nicotine, the vapor from e-cigarettes differs from its cigarette counterpart due to the different types of 'smoke' they produce.
Cigarettes produce smoke through combustion. Therefore, any substance which is burnt with fire, such as leaves, wood, buildings, or plant material, produces volatile gasses, carcinogenic solid particles, carbon monoxide, and a mixture of dangerous byproducts. This is especially pertinent in tobacco since the intention of burning tobacco is usually to inhale it directly, hence the larger likelihood of cancer in smokers and those who inhale second-hand smoke.
What is released when you heat an e-liquid?
On the other hand, vapor from a vape is produced through heating an 'e-liquid' with a small metal coil housed in an atomizer. The heat turns this e-juice into vapor, which is what is released when the vaper exhales.
This e-juice contains nicotine, ultrafine particles, and various other toxins. The other toxins that are included are cause for concern in regard to second-hand vapor since these toxins include various agents which have been linked to causing cancer.
Who’s Most at Risk?
Since vaping is such a new phenomenon, there has not been enough time to assess the severity of second-hand vapor or the effects of vaping in general. To rather be safe than sorry, we should consider that vapor is potentially harmful to anyone due to the cancer-causing toxins which are used in e-liquid. Though second-hand vaping currently can't be proven detrimental to others, we should concern others regardless.
In this spirit, the people most at risk of second-hand vapor are those who may have weak or underdeveloped bodies and lungs. Therefore, take good care when vaping that you are not around any infants and children, pregnant people, or people with lung conditions, as these would be the demographics who are likely to be most susceptible to the dangers of second-hand vapor.
Vape With Caution
In any case, since second-hand vapor or vaping, in general, has not had enough time in the market to be thoroughly studied, you should attempt not to have your vapor interfere with anyone you see. Unfortunately, there's no clear indicator that a stranger may have an underlying condition that second-hand vapor might exacerbate, so it’s a good idea to vape cautiously to prevent undue harm to others.
If You Vape, Remember These Tips:
It's a great idea to be aware of who you're around when you're vaping because there's no information to determine whether your second-hand vape is harmful to others. However, you can adopt a few precautionary measures to ensure that you aren't inadvertently harming someone in the act of vaping.
The first precautionary measure you should take is to vape outside. Vaping indoors, especially with people around, will mean that the vapor is in an enclosed space. This means it will be significantly more likely to be inhaled by people in a building or room since the toxins from your vapor will still purvey the air even if you may not be able to see it anymore.
Avoid Big Crowds and Children/Vulnerable People When Vaping Outside
If you decide to vape outside, also make sure you are not in a public place where lots of people will be around. Even in the open air, it's extremely easy for someone to inhale your second-hand vapor by just walking past at the wrong moment.
Another precaution we highly recommend is to avoid vaping around children and other high-risk people. As we've outlined earlier, if the toxins from a vape really do have an adverse health effect, children, pregnant people, and those who have lingering conditions will be most susceptible.
Alternative Methods to Minimize Toxins
So always be aware of your surroundings when you are vaping to ensure that there is no one around that could come to harm from your second-hand vapor.
Outside of ensuring you’re not in an enclosed space or around high-risk individuals, there are ways to minimize the level of toxins in your vapor through your choice of vape products. Low or no-nicotine vape products will produce toxins much more minimally and will generally be safer to inhale. If you can, try to stick to these products instead of high nicotine vape juices which are sure to harm someone if inhaled.
You can also buy a vaping device with lower power and temperature. These vapes will produce less vapor because there is less heat applied to the coil. At lower power, your vape will produce a minimal amount of vapor which will have a smaller area in which someone would have to be in to inhale the second-hand vapor.
It's always a good idea to keep the amount of vapor coming out of your vape to a minimum, as well as to make sure you aren’t in an enclosed space or around high-risk individuals. This way, you can significantly reduce the risk of having someone inhale your second-hand vapor.
While the data is contested as to whether second-hand vapor is categorically harmful to inhale, it's best to proceed with caution. Current data on vaping is not sufficient to make a sound decision as to whether second-hand vapor is harmful or not since vaping is too new of a phenomenon to draw any conclusions from.
Since scientists have already established that there are toxic cancer-causing agents present in readily available nicotine e-juices, there is a high likelihood that inhaling second-hand vapor could be a harmful practice.
Take The Proper Precautions
This means that anyone who currently vapes should take good care to ensure that no one is inadvertently inhaling second-hand smoke as a result of a vaper using their e-juices near them.
This can be done by ensuring you vape in an open, non-public space and making sure there are no high-risk individuals present, such as children or people with lung conditions who second-hand vapor could harm. You can also opt for low nicotine or no-nicotine juices and use low power and temperature vapes.