In a recent study, published by the journal Indoor Air, the chemical components of both second-hand smoke and second-hand “vapor” were compared. Human subjects were given either a traditional tobacco cigarette or an electronic cigarette and left to puff away in a specially designed chamber. This chamber then measured the amounts of different chemicals which would be inhaled by anyone who consumed these substances, second-hand.
As expected, the toxic substances found in the cigarette smoke far outweighed the traces found in e-cig vapor. More than 20 volatile organic compounds were detected in cigarette smoke; trace amounts of six of these elements were found in the electronic cigarette vapor. Once exhaled, the e-cig vapor was found to contain miniscule amount of nicotine and flavoring. The primary compound detected in the exhaled vapor was propylene glycol, which is present in many of the foods we eat has been deemed safe by the FDA.
Despite being the first of its kind, this study proves what proponents of the electronic cigarette industry have been saying for years: second-hand vapor is not harmful. It is doubtful that these findings will have much of an impact on prominent anti-smoking groups, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.