Research continues to accumulate demonstrating the safety of electronic cigarettes, not only for those who use them but for those around them, as well. A recent batch of data, focusing on how e-cigarette vapors affect those who come into contact with them, reveal that switching from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes may be an effective way to protect bystanders from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
One of the most well known studies was conducted by ClearStream-Air. The results of the study, which were published last September, indicated that breathing the air in a large city is potentially more harmful to an individual’s health than sitting in a room with someone who is using an e-cigarette.
In two separate, five-hour sessions, the researchers asked five volunteer participants to smoke tobacco cigarettes in a room and then vape in a room. The five volunteer tobacco smokers consumed a total of 19 cigarettes over the course of the five hours, and the five volunteer vapors consumed 1.6ml of e-liquid, which amounted to 17.6 mg of nicotine, in five hours. The researchers measured the air quality in the rooms following the session. They found no nicotine in the air of the room after volunteers had vaped. Nor were carbon monoxide, propylene glycol, acrolein, or PHAs found in the air of the vaping room. However, they detected a whopping 34µg/m3 of nicotine in the air after volunteers had smoked tobacco cigarettes.
Indoor Vapor Air Quality Study (IVAQS)
A second study, published in the journal, Inhalation Toxicology, also compared the indoor air quality between rooms where e-cigarettes had been used and rooms where participants had smoked tobacco cigarettes. Participants in the e-cigarette group vaporized four different “high nicotine” liquids, while participants in the tobacco cigarette group smoked traditional cigarettes. The resulting measures of air quality were similar to those obtained by ClearStream-Air’s researchers. The scientists found that the air quality in the room where tobacco cigarettes had been smoked posed a significant risk to human health. Occupying a room where e-cigarettes had been consumed, on the other hand, appeared to expose individuals to an extremely limited amount of pollutants. The emissions produced by the e-cigarettes did not pose any apparent risk to bystanders.
E-Cigarette Vapor vs. Air Fresheners
While exposure to e-cigarette vapor appears to be far safer than exposure to tobacco cigarette emissions, evidence is also mounting to suggest that it’s safer than exposure to many popular air fresheners. Paraffin candles and Glade Plug-Ins have also been identified as posing a moderate health risk to those nearby, because they rely on isoparaffin, which is, essentially, kerosene, as a base. E-cigarettes, meanwhile, employ non-toxic bases, such as propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin.
The EPA made a study of store-bought air fresheners and discovered, moreover, that most contain a host of toxic ingredients and pollutants, including formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol pollutants. A 2006 study by researchers at the University of California in Berkeley also revealed that many air fresheners, not to mention, household cleaners, emit toxic pollutants at levels that exceed regulatory guidelines and thus pose potential health risks to those in proximity to them. E-cigarettes contain none of these toxic ingredients and appear to emit none of these pollutants.
While passive, or second-hand, cigarette smoking continues to represent a significant health risk to the general public, the growing popularity and availability of electronic cigarettes is an encouraging development. As more and more people make the switch from smoking traditional cigarettes to using e-cigarettes, the potential for everyone to breathe easier also grows. Happy Vaping!
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