A study looking into the effect of second-hand vaping indicates that it’s much safer than second-hand smoking
Second-hand smoke is an enormous part of the smoking epidemic, and it’s especially terrible since it affects bystanders, not just smokers. We’ve got decades of research which clearly indicates that being around second-hand smoke is almost as bad as smoking itself. As such, many regulations have changed over the years to keep smoke away from non-smokers who wish to avoid the risk. But with the growth of vaping, some are starting to wonder if second-hand vapor is equally bad for bystanders as second-hand smoke is.
It’s understandable why so many could be asking this question. After all, vaping and smoking appear very similar from an outsider’s perspective, and it’s awful what happened to so many non-smokers before we knew the true risks of second-hand smoke. As a result, there’s been more and more research conducted to determine what the effects of second-hand vaping are on those around you. One of the latest reports seems to indicate that while not exactly harmless, second-hand vaping is nothing like second-hand smoke concerning the danger it poses to bystanders.
The report was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led by Dr. Leonard Zwack. As part of the Health Hazard Evaluation Program, this report was performed because the Texas Health Services wanted more research looking into the workplace conditions for workers at vape shops. The team visited two different vape shops and collected air samples for testing. They were looking for flavoring chemicals and nicotine, as well as volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde. To ensure they had covered their bases they also tested work surfaces for nicotine residue and metal buildup, as well as observing and interviewing the staff about their experiences.
After collecting all of their data, the team started seeing some interesting results. Right off the bat, they established that workers were vaping on the job, further increasing the density of vapor found. This got so severe that the researchers noted that the shops got cloudy when too many people were vaping at once. More importantly, these effects didn’t linger or leave any noticeable residue behind like tar does. But likely their most important finding was that “E-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the deadly mix of 7,000 chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes.” These clear results show that even in the worst conditions, such as a vape shop, the effect of second-hand vaping is nothing approaching the impact of second-hand smoke.
Further Evidence On Vaping
It’s great to see more evidence published that indicates the extreme harm reduction and smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. But that doesn’t mean that it’s one of the first to suggest the relative safety. We’ve known since at least 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, thanks to a comprehensive report conducted by Public Health England. Last fall we got a report that concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
We even have plenty of reason to believe that it’s one of the best smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal. A study published last fall by researchers at the University of Louisville indicated that the absolute best smoking cessation device isn’t nicotine patches or gum, or even the brand new prescription drugs. It was actually vaping that proved to be more likely to lead to a successful quit attempt than anything else. To be honest, this isn’t even the first time we’ve gotten solid word that second-hand vaping is much much safer than second-hand smoking. It’s getting to the point where if you act like there isn’t any evidence supporting vaping, you’re clearly being biased.
Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease across the globe. Second-hand smoking accounts for a large percentage of the total people exposed to dangerous smoke every day. Given that they may never have made the decision to pick up tobacco, it’s all the more tragic when a smoking-related disease rears its ugly head. We know that vaping is much safer than smoking thanks to years of research, but we now also know that second-hand vaping is also much safer than second-hand smoke. As such, we have more reason than ever to try and support vaping as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. If we ever want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, it’s essential that we utilize all our best tools, not undermine them at every turn as the FDA does with vaping.
Is it important that we learn more about the differences between smoking and vaping? Are you surprised that second-hand vaping is so much safer than smoking? How can we improve the public perception of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.