| Andy Staples
Is second-hand vapour dangerous?
Although we can all agree that vaping is far less harmful than smoking, some people are still quite concerned about the potential harm that vaping could pose.
The research that has been done so far into second-hand vaping indicates that it poses little to no danger. In fact, they found that second-hand vapour posed “no significant risk of harm to human health”, whilst tobacco smoke posed a “significant risk of harm to human health”. Their conclusion stated that there was no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions.
It is important to note that, while it does not pose danger to health, when you passively inhale e-cigarette vapour from someone who is vaping with nicotine, you will inhale some of that nicotine too. This will be a far, far smaller amount than you would inhale from second-hand smoke, but it will still be present.
Nicotine is not damaging in itself to our health, but it is addictive. Therefore, some people would still prefer to avoid second-hand vapour altogether.
What is it?
You’ve probably heard of ‘second-hand smoking’ and, well, second-hand vaping is pretty much the same thing. It happens when a person inhales the vapour that has been exhaled from someone else’s e-cigarette nearby to them. It is second-hand because it does not come directly from the e-cigarette - it has already been inhaled and exhaled by the first person before it reaches the second person.
The dangers of second-hand smoke from tobacco were only really brought to light in recent years. This is when the public was made aware that being around someone who is smoking is almost as bad as smoking yourself. New laws were imposed surrounding smoking in the car with children and smoking in public places in order to protect non-smokers. This is where the concerns around second-hand vaping seem to stem from.
What's in it?
When someone smokes a cigarette, there is a sidestream of smoke that comes off from the actual cigarette. In contrast, with an e-cigarette, there is only ever vapour when the person inhales. There are no sidestream emissions. This means that the second-hand vapour contains much less of the substances that were contained in the inhaled vapour since it has to pass through the mouth, throat, and lungs of the person first.
So, second-hand vapour doesn’t really contain very much of anything! There will be some levels of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavourings, and nicotine (if the person vaping is using nicotine) - these are the usual components that make up any e-liquid. So the second-hand vapour will contain small amounts of all of these substances.
Why you should practice polite vaping :)
‘Polite vaping’ refers to the practice of using your e-cigarette without being disrespectful to those around you. Although we have concluded that passive vaping is not dangerous, many individuals would still prefer to inhale clean air and not be hit in the face by your delicious smelling vape clouds!
So, if you are vaping around others, ask them if they are OK with it first. You should also avoid vaping in enclosed public spaces, and ensure you follow the rules.