Does Vaping Affect People Second Hand?
Risks of Second Hand Vaping
The History of Smoke
People have been smoking some type of herb, leaf or whatever since 5000 BCE. It wasn’t until fairly recently (in the grand scheme of things) that the act itself has been considered harmful. Since the days of the silent movie, everyone from the gangsters to the damsels in distress would often light up cigars or cigarettes on the big screen. Men looked tough or more heroic and women appeared to be sexier with a cigarette in hand. Early TV shows were sponsored by cigarette companies and often their own product were featured in the shows as well. Some brands even got real endorsements and high praise from doctors for their products “smoothness” sensation on the throat.
That all began to change, albeit slowly, when it was confirmed that smoking was a leading cause of lung cancer. Then studies came out stating how it wasn’t just the person who was actually smoking the cigarette that was in danger. The smokers were putting the people in the same room at risk too. Soon, dads were relegated to smoke outside, pregnant women were told to quit and non-smoking sections appeared in local restaurants.
Smoking vs. Vaping
Today, the dangers of smoking are well-known and the total number of people smoking cigarettes has dropped dramatically over the years. Even so, over 16 million Americans still struggle with illnesses caused by smoking in one form or another. To help with this fight, a variety of new products using a new technology practically took over. Vaping was thought to be the safer way for one to get the nicotine they craved and it could be that new tool that would provide a safe outlet for those wanting to quit the habit.
Soon people would vape with tobacco or marijuana and with a variety of candy-colored and flavored products. Teens would vape thinking that there were safe since it wasn’t smoke that they were taking in, just water vapor. Who could hurt from that?
Then in 2019, the veil was lifted revealing more and more people were getting sick and some even died from this “safe” alternative. And wouldn’t you know it, the experts are now noticing that people experience secondhand vape are also in danger.
Two Types of Vaping
Vaping devices work in two different ways. One uses a mouth-to-lung inhalation and the other uses a direct lung inhalation. Mouth-to-lung vaping is when a person takes a drag of the vape in a way that is similar to sucking liquid through a straw and then releasing it out of the mouth once the vapor hits one’s lungs. The direct lung type of inhalation is when one quickly breathes in a vapor directly to one’s lungs and then quickly exhales the vapor back out almost immediately.
Some people will swear that one form is safer than the other, but either way, there is still a risk to the person vaping and to anyone within a near distance.
What is Secondhand Vaping?
Like secondhand smoking, secondhand vaping is when one person is in near proximity to another person who is vaping and the secondary person breathes in what the first person had just exhaled. Even if the secondary person is standing at what some might call a safe distance away from the first person, chances are good that they will end up breathing in the harmful stuff anyway. Regardless of the conditions. A study conducted in 2014 came to the conclusion that a room’s air quality was still impaired even when e-cigarettes were used in a ventilated room.
“Ultrafine particles can find their way from the vapor into the lungs of other people in the same space,” says Roberts. Vapor can linger in the air for longer than most would think.
What Can Be Found in Secondhand Vape?
On the plus side, if there is one, the vape from e-cigarettes vape do not contain carbon monoxide or tar. Unfortunately, there is plenty of other bad stuff to get sick from. In fact, of the limited number of studies that have been done so far, scientists have identified hundreds of different chemicals floating in those vapors including acetaldehyde, acetone, acrolein, benzene, cadmium, chromium, formaldehyde, lead, isoprene, nickel, nicotine, phenol, toluene and the old favorite, nicotine. These ingredients increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Who Should Be Concerned About the Risk of Secondhand Vaping?
Like secondhand smoke, everyone who comes into contact with secondhand vaping is at risk, but some people are more suseptical to illness including:
Infants and Children:
Because of their lower body weight and the fact that their respiratory systems are still developing, children are at high risk. One study’s results from 2017 showed that even low concentrations of vape aerosol could affect brain development.
One study conducted in 2018 reported that one third of high-schoolers and middle-schoolers said that they were directly exposed to vaping aerosol. That new got the attention of the Surgeon General who has said that the sheer number of vaping that goes on among teens should qualify as an epidemic.
“Teenagers are typically much more impressionable to peer pressure than their older counterparts, so it’s harder for many of them to remove themselves from social situations that pose a health risk,” says Roberts. “Personally, I was already so embarrassed by just being in middle school that I can’t imagine speaking up if I saw someone using an e-cigarette.”
People with Lung Conditions:
The chemical diacetyl, used for vape flavorings, can impair the cilia in the airway. (Cilia are those little hairs that help to clear the airway of mucus and dirt helping one to breathe clearly.) If a person is already having a hard time with a lung condition such as asthma or COPD, the chemical can cause havoc. One study done in 2018 showed that 14% of the people struggling with asthma reported that vaping or secondhand vape was a cause of their symptoms.
It isn’t a new idea that pregnant women should avoid smoking or be around others that do. Fetal nicotine exposure will have an adverse effect on developing fetuses including preterm delivery, low birth weight, stillbirth, impaired lung and brain development and sudden infant death syndrome. The same concerns are warranted for those who choose to vape as well.
Another Fear: Thirdhand Vaping Exposure
As if secondhand vaping wasn’t bad enough, experts also warn of the dangers of thirdhand vaping. This might sound as if they are going too far with this, but it make sense when you think of it. Even if no other person is the room when vaping, the components of the aerosol don’t just disappear. Like dust, they settle upon the different surfaces such as chairs, sofas, tables, etc. When a person comes by and touches these surfaces, they can be exposed to the harmful chemicals.
How to protect others
Just like traditional smoking, the best way to protect others from harm is quit the habit of vaping before others get sick. However, that isn’t always possible. Some people choose to vape as a step down from traditional smoking and since many products still contain nicotine, quitting vaping isn’t all that easy either. So, while you are trying to make your environment safer for yourself and others, here are a few things you can do to help minimize the risk.
Vape Outside: This isn’t a popular choice since one of the benefits of vaping was that you no longer had to go outside to enjoy a smoke. It may be tough, but do it anyway. Avoid vaping in the home for any reason and don’t use the car as your favoring vaping spot either. Again, harmful particles will land all over the side the car and will get your spouse and children sick.
Avoid Vaping Around Kids or High-Risk Groups of People: Avoid playgrounds or backyard picnic parties.
Don’t Vape Near Pets: Just like loved ones, Fido and Fluffy can experience some of the same illnesses humans can from breathing in vaping aerosol or touching particles from the vaping aerosol.
Avoid Buying Flavored Vape Juice: Believe it or not, some of the chemicals used in flavored vapes have been tagged as a possible cause of serious and permanent lung damage and those chemicals have been found in secondhand vape aerosol too.
Switch to Low or No-Nicotine Vaping Products: It’s doesn’t take a huge leap to understand that the less nicotine one consumes (or shares with others) the better for everyone involved. However, quitting nicotine cold turkey can be difficult. Those hooked by nicotine should start by using products with lower amounts of nicotine and try to gradually wean oneself off from there. Getting off nicotine entirely will help to minimize risks.
Change the Device: Some vaping devices heating hotter than others. The heating of some of the chemicals found the vape juice can actually create new chemicals including formaldehydes. In addition, heavy metals from the heating coils of those devices and other contaminants are likely to be found in the vapor. This can make the vaping juices used to become even more harmful than expected.
Healthliine – https://www.healthline.com/health/second-hand-vape#thirdhand-exposure
Cnet – https://www.cnet.com/news/5g-couldnt-have-come-to-health-care-at-a-better-time/
Enviroklenz Air Purifiers – https://enviroklenzairpurifiers.com/the-dangers-of-second-hand-vaping/
Popsci.com – https://www.popsci.com/ask-us-anything-secondhand-vaping-harmful-your-health/
Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking