Electronic cigarettes compose of battery-powered heating elements that heat e-liquids in vape cartridges to vaporize it for the user to inhale. But, unlike traditional smoke-emitting cigarettes, vapes don’t produce smoke — they emit an aerosol cloud containing small particles, nicotine, and other compounds. There is ongoing research on the effects of vaping and second-hand vape clouds. Here is a discussion on whether second-hand vaping is dangerous to your health.
Second-Hand Smoke: Composition & Effects
The aerosol from electronic nicotine delivery systems, also known as ENDs (vapes) has higher particle concentrations than normal cigarettes. Research studies suggest that when you are exposed to second-hand smoke, it can worsen your health. That is, if you’re someone who has a pre-existing condition such as asthma. The aerosol can also constrict your arteries and increase your risk of a heart attack.
The particle size of the aerosol is way smaller than 1000 nm. And when you use your vape right in front of other people, you expose them to these nanoparticles. A number of these ultrafine particles are known to be carcinogenic and potentially toxic. For example, when propylene glycol from ESDs comes into contact with your eyes, they can cause burning sensations. If children are exposed to these materials over the long term, they may also develop asthma.
Propylene glycol when heated, may change its chemical makeup, and release propylene oxide, a carcinogenic compound. There are also metallic elements in aerosols such as chromium, lead, and tin. Second-hand vapers absorb nicotine; a known toxic substance in tobacco which is also addictive.
A good number of the components of the aerosol have been linked with causing respiratory system disorders. E-cigarette shop owners are advised to sell vapes that are less harmful.
Some studies have shown that nonsmokers inhale almost the same amount of aerosol as vapers! However, the following groups of people are classified as high-risk individuals, and they should try to stay away from second-hand smoke.
Infants and Children
Because infants have low body weights and weaker respiratory systems, their exposure to toxins in an aerosol can be dangerous to their health. In 2017, a research study noted that children and infants who come into contact with vape aerosols, even in small amounts, can suffer brain and lung damage.
For quite a long time, it has been understood that nicotine is dangerous to the health of expectant mothers. The nicotine in e-cigarettes is no different; it can also affect their health. That’s why pregnant ladies are always advised to stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke as well.
Even in animals, a research study in 2017 found out that exposure to second-hand smoke can cause the following negative effects.
- Sudden death in infants
- Lung and brain damage
- Underweight babies
- Premature delivery
In conclusion, the effects of second-hand smoke on passive smokers’ health are mostly negative; they are dangerous. Therefore, if you must use an e-cigarette, always remember to use it in private, and not in public places. For example, desist from using your vape inside your home or car when others are around. You may also want to use vapes that have low power, and zero nicotine.