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We all know that second hand smoke from smoking cigarettes is bad for you. So, is second hand vapour from using e-liquids also harmful?

Research has shown that vaping is a lot safer than smoking cigarettes as it lacks a lot of the harmful chemicals associated with cancer, heart disease and lung disease. Vaping has also been proven to help people quit the more dangerous smoking for good. However, people with respiratory conditions such as asthma can be affected by vaping in the same way as other environmental irritants.

E-liquids that contain nicotine release small quantities of nicotine when exhaled. Tests have shown that vaping in an indoor environment will expose others around you to around 10% of the nicotine that smoking would. While this is a much smaller amount of nicotine compared to smoking it is still more than nothing. So care should be taken, especially around children as nicotine is addictive and harmful.

To explore the effect of second hand vape smoke in detail we need to take a look at why second hand smoking is so harmful and what makes vaping different.

Second hand

Burning tobacco creates a large number of chemicals like hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia, carbon monoxide, benzene and more. Many of these chemicals are associated with health risks like cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

The smoke produced by smoking tobacco also forms tar, a sticky combination of chemicals that coats the lungs. This tar contains many of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke and over time leads to lung damage that can cause diseases.

Around seven million people die of smoking related illnesses each year and in the UK alone around one hundred thousand people die as a result of smoking. Tobacco products are widely regarded as the largest preventable cause of death in the world. And it is important to remember that second-hand smoke is estimated to cause more than ten thousand deaths each year in the UK.

That means that 10% of the people who die as a result of smoking related illness are victims of second hand smoke. Statistics show that the majority of people harmed by second hand smoke are those who live with someone who smokes.

Is It Bad?

E-liquids, the juice used in vaping, usually consist of a base of Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin along with flavourings and sometimes nicotine. When an e-liquid is vaped it produces a vapour, sometimes inaccurately known as ‘vape smoke’ which is inhaled by the vaper.

The ingredients used in e-liquids don’t change when they are vaped and they are strictly controlled in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The flavouring ingredients in e-liquids are also used in food production and have been proven safe to consume. However these flavourings were designed to be eaten and not inhaled so the long term effects of vaping them are not yet fully understood.

Although more research needs to be done there is already a large body of evidence showing that vaping poses almost no health risk and is significantly safer than smoking.

So far research has shown that there are minor risks if you are asthmatic or one of the few people with an allergy to Propylene Glycol. For asthmatics this risk is similar to other common irritants and if you are allergic to Propylene Glycol there are many Propylene Glycol free e-liquids available.

Another notable health concern is nicotine. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine and those that do always have a lower level than in cigarettes and this nicotine is part of what makes vaping such a great way to help quit smoking. But nicotine itself is addictive and this addiction is part of what makes cigarettes so harmful as they are difficult to quit despite the dangers.

Some countries have a total ban on all nicotine products, even those designed to help people quit smoking.

If you’re looking for e-liquids to help quit smoking then take a look at the Medusa Juice Vape Store. Our wide selection of juices include many that are designed to reproduce the flavour and experience of smoking to help you quit for good. And we also provide many e-liquids with a range of nicotine levels if you want to reduce or cut out nicotine entirely.

Are They The Same?

While vaping is significantly safer than smoking and has been proven to help smokers quit the much more harmful cigarettes, it is not without health risks. These risks are minor and so far the majority of research has shown that e-liquid vapour is only a risk if your asthmatic, have a similar lung condition, or if you have the rare allergy to one of the ingredients.

Studies have also shown that the vapour exhaled by vapers contains a fraction of the chemicals that they originally inhaled. But that means that this exhaled vapour still contains some chemicals which, while much safer than cigarette smoke, are not without some health risks.

As a result, we know that air quality will be impacted when vaping indoors as small amounts of nicotine and other chemicals linger in the air. This decreased air quality is not good for anyone who is asthmatic or has an allergy to Propylene Glycol.

Additionally this lingering vapour is not good for children as they are already more susceptible to lung irritations and should not be exposed to nicotine, even in tiny quantities.


The majority of evidence so far suggests that vaping is much safer than smoking and is proven to help people quit smoking. However, more research needs to be done into the long term effects and e-liquids still carry some minor health risks.

As second hand vape smoke can carry some of these risks, including nicotine vapour, it is advisable to be considerate when vaping. And in particular avoid vaping around children.

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