Vaping is a phenomenon that recently gained the kind of attraction it does now. The whole purpose of introducing vaping was to help smokers quit their addictions. Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes have been around in Europe and the US just about for a decade. Hence there are no long term data on its effects. Vaping does have a lot of chemicals and toxins involved which aren’t great for the body. There are government standards and protocols for workplace exposure from inhaled metals and chemicals. Scientists can determine whether the chemicals present in the second-hand vapor is harmful or not. So far, there is no serious evidence of second hand vaping is detrimental to no vaping bystanders. Though vaping is utterly fashionable, there was an instant surge in sickness, hospitalization and even deaths. Vaping does have serious side effects, a more significant amount than what can be estimated.
What is second-hand vapor?
Second-hand vapor is the vapor released into the air produced by a vaper. This vapor is technically aerosol. Similar to second-hand smoke, it lingers in the air for a long time exposing non-vaping people too. The bystanders do not inhale second-hand smoke simply because second-hand electronic cigarettes vapor isn’t practically smoke. Smoke is produced when there is combustion and electronic cigarettes do not have any burning. The process of burning anything with fire, for example, tobacco, wood leaves, produces flammable gases, carbon monoxide, carcinogenic particles and a mix of hazardous chemicals that are usually found in cigarette smoke, is called tar.
The second-hand smoke emanating from a cigarette isn’t as dangerous as directly inhaling from one. However, research suggests prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke can be a severe health hazard. A study conducted in 2014 reported that indoor air quality was compromised when individuals in a ventilated room used electronic cigarettes. Superfine particles can find their way into the lungs of other people. Another research shown in 2018 discovered the presence of heavy metals like glycerin, aldehyde, which are bad for the body.
Vaping devices produce clouds of vapor, which is generated by heating the e-liquid with an atomizer. The atomizer has a small metal coil which turns it into vapor. The vapor coming from electronic cigarettes do not contain tar or carbon monoxide. However, dangerous and hazardous metals and chemicals are found in the vapor, but in minimal amounts. The number of toxins is least as compared to cigarette smoke. Hence the dangers of second hand vaping are also reduced.
Who is at risk?
Vaping has been a common problem among teens which is why they are at a higher risk of developing sickness. In today’s world, one in five teenagers has at least tried vaping once. That isn’t a good number. A third of high schoolers reported that they were exposed to vaping aerosol in the year 2018. Products like Juul and Philip Morris are being investigated into painting the brand in a good light in spite of the ill effects of vaping. Teenagers are more prone to fall into peer pressure and try these methods out of curiosity. Research shows that exposure to electronic cigarette vapor leads to a reduction in the growth of tiny or small air sacs called the alveoli in the developing lungs. Exposure to nicotine early in childhood could lead to a decrease in lung function. Apart from teenagers, kids are also at a high risk of being exposed to electronic cigarette vapor.
It’s much harder for them to back out in such situations or face the fear of being left out. Teenagers with breathing conditions or pre-existing lung conditions are also at a higher risk for contracting diseases or worsening their situations in case they try vaping. If you have any breathing conditions or asthma, then second hand vaping can be dangerous for your health. The aerosol present in the vapor can cause respiratory or throat irritation. If you already have a sore throat, your situation can be worsened.
What’s in the second-hand vapor?
If you are in a room with people vaping, the vapor you see comes from the lungs and mouth of the vaper. To produce smoke, the individual has to inhale to release it. When they release into the air, the least amount of particles are present since the individual itself absorbs the majority of the substances. Second hand vaping isn’t as dangerous as second-hand smoking is because the bystanders get exposed to a minimal amount. Studies revealed that second hand vaping had shown the levels of the chemicals much less than the exposure limits.
Smoke-free isn’t vape free
Just because it does not contain smoke, it doesn’t mean it is vape free. A shocking report suggests that more than half of the electronic cigarette users use both smoke as well as vape. Some vapers start vaping in the intention of quitting smoking altogether but end up doing both. There was a report which reported that three folds higher rates of parents use electronic cigarettes at home in the presence of their kids. There was an interview conducted on the parents who vape. About 64% had a smoke free policy with only 26% had a vape free system. Experts recommend kids’ environment should be 100% vape free as they as more prone to getting infected or their health could be compromised.
Risks of using electronic cigarettes at home with kids
If you or your spouse practice vaping at home, here are some factors you should consider before planning to continue. E-cigarette poses the same type of health risks as smoking does.
Accidental Ingestion: Electronic cigarettes produce a vapor that could be unfavorably be ingested by kids at home. The exposure could have severe effects on kids or babies than adults. A report suggested that 14% of tobacco and nicotine related issues and helpline calls are due to electronic cigarettes. That’s an approximate 104 calls per month. Kids exposed to electronic cigarette vapor are 5.2 times more likely to be hospitalized, and about 2.6 times are more likely to have a severe health condition due to constant exposure.
Second-hand exposure: Though there isn’t any much evidence or research at how second-hand exposure could harm kids, nobody would willingly put a child in harm. That being said, second-hand exposure isn’t safe for kids and they should be kept away from such things. Kids who are more exposed to second-hand vapor are more likely to fall sick, be hospitalized, have ear and nose infections, breathing issues, cold, cough, or bronchitis.
How to avoid it altogether?
The only way you could altogether avoid the second-hand vapor is to leave your friends when they vape. Do not hand out with your friends while they use electronic cigarettes to be potentially safe. Or if you are using an e-cig, be courteous enough to not vape around children such they do not have much of an opinion in the air they breathe. Do not vape around people who are uncomfortable with it. If any close family member involves in vaping, kindly ask them to stop when you are around. It could be your parent, caretaker, co-worker, or only a friend. This could be your best bet to avoid the vapor altogether. If you have severe asthma issues or other lung problems, stay yourself clear from people who vape since it can have severe and adverse side effects on your health or your health could also be compromised.
In simple terms, second hand vaping could be harmful to you in any sense. It could affect your immunity levels or weaken your body altogether. You could contract infections or problems like asthma, breathing difficulties and multiple other issues. There are certain harmful chemicals in second hand vaping even though electronic cigarette companies paint term them as ‘healthy.’ The facts are entirely different than what is being advertised. The chemicals present in e-cigarettes are toxic and can have adverse effects on your body and mind. Vaping releases substances like copper, propylene glycol, and harmful carcinogens into the air, which could even harm the bystanders. In places where there is poor ventilation, there could be serious harm to the nearby crowd as these harmful chemicals enter their system and weaken them.
Electronic smoking devices have a high concentration of minute particles that do more harm than good. They can lead to respiratory issues, asthma or constrict arteries which could lead to a heart attack. There are at least ten chemicals identified in the research conducted all of them being carcinogens and harmful toxins. Short term exposure could lead to irritation, blockage of the nose, cold or cough problems. The particles are known to be deposited in the human respiratory system. Some people may experience nausea or vomiting, whereas others may not be comfortable around them: respect other’s privacy and needs. Do not vape around them if they aren’t satisfied with the idea. Stay away from vaping in front of kids since they are the ones who are at a higher risk as compared to adults.