Questions And More Questions
There have been rumours and concerns surrounding vaping ever since it first became popular just over a decade ago. Many of these myths are obviously nonsense, but sometimes the answers aren’t so straight-forward. One of these tricky questions is whether passive vaping is harmful or not.
Vaping is often associated with smoking and we already know that passive smoking is dangerous, so it’s not surprising that people are concerned with the idea of passive vaping. Some people even go so far as to claim that passive vaping is just as dangerous as passive smoking, although this is clearly incorrect.
The simple answer to this question is that passive vaping is significantly safer than passive smoking and that so far there have been no confirmed cases of passive vaping leading to illness. However, more research needs to be done in order to get a definitive answer.
To understand the effects of passive vaping, we need to compare smoking and vaping as well as looking at passive smoking. It’s important to understand how harmful second-hand smoke can be before examining second-hand vapour.
Burning tobacco produces thousands of chemicals, many of which lead to serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease and lung disease. These diseases will kill around fifty percent of smokers, making smoking the largest preventable cause of death in the world.
Vaping on the other hand doesn’t produce any new chemicals, it only vaporises the ingredients already found in e-liquids. These chemicals are significantly safer than the ones produced by smoking and organisations like Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians agree with research that vaping is 95% safer than smoking.
A quick comparison between smoking and vaping tells us that vaping is significantly safer and this suggests that passive vaping is also much safer than passive smoking. It might surprise some people exactly how dangerous passive smoking can be and how much safer passive vaping is by comparison. So, let’s look at both activities in more detail.
The harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke are far too numerous to list here, but they include hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia, carbon monoxide, benzene and hundreds more. These chemicals have been linked with health risks like cancer, lung disease and heart disease. Tobacco smoke also forms tar, a combination of different chemicals that coats the lungs, causing damage as well as emphysema, bronchitis and lung cancer.
These harmful chemicals are also present in second-hand smoke and linger in the air long after they’re first released. Roughly one hundred thousand people die each year in the UK as a result of smoking related illnesses, and around ten thousand of these are non-smokers.
This means that approximately ten percent of the people who die as a result of smoking in the UK are victims of passive smoking. And statistics show that the majority of these passive smokers are non-smokers who live with a smoker.
Not only does smoking kill around fifty percent of people who smoke, it can also be deadly for the people around them.
Vaping is a completely different process to smoking and the vapour produced is significantly safer than tobacco smoke. Vaping uses a heated coil to vaporise e-liquids which contain flavouring and sometimes nicotine mixed into a base of Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin.
The ingredients used to make e-liquids are strictly controlled in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. This means we know exactly what goes into our juices and what’s in the clouds of vapour produced.
There has been a lot of research into the health effects of vaping over the last few years. The results show that vaping is significantly safer than smoking and that second-hand vapour contains a fraction of the chemicals first inhaled by the vaper.
So far there have been no confirmed cases of illnesses like cancer, lung disease or heart disease being linked with vaping. Public Health England and other organisations have also agreed with the current research showing that vaping is about 95% safer than smoking.
The main health risks associated with vaping are problems that can occur with asthmatics or anyone with a rare allergy to Propylene Glycol, one of the ingredients commonly used in e-liquids. For asthmatics, the vapour produced when vaping is about as harmful as other common airborne irritants like dust.
Another risk is nicotine. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine, but most of us turn to vaping to help quit smoking and prefer nicotine juices to help satisfy the cravings. Only tiny amounts of nicotine are present in the exhaled vapour, but this can still be a concern, especially around children. In general it is good practice to be considerate when vaping.
The vapour exhaled when vaping contains a fraction of the chemicals that were originally inhaled. This makes second-hand vaping even less dangerous than vaping which research has shown is significantly safer than smoking.
This doesn’t mean that passive vaping is completely risk free, but it is far less dangerous than passive smoking.
The question of whether passive vaping is harmful has been around since vaping first started to become popular. And while we don’t have all the answers yet, research has shown that vaping is significantly safer than smoking and that second-hand vapour is even less harmful.
There have been no confirmed cases of passive vaping leading to serious harm, but second-hand vapour could still carry risks, especially with asthmatics or anyone with an allergy to PG. It is recommended that vapers be considerate when vaping, especially around children.
It’s also worth remembering that vaping has been proven to almost double the chances of smokers quitting tobacco for good. And thousands of smokers each year have given up with the help of vape products. This means that vaping is helping reduce the number of smokers in the world, so fewer people will become victims of second-hand smoke.