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Study: Second Hand Vapor from E-Cigs Has Fewer Risks than Second Hand Smoke

Date Posted: July 10, 2012

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.

26 thoughts on “Study: Second Hand Vapor from E-Cigs Has Fewer Risks than Second Hand Smoke”

  1. exzakt_one says:

    ok first things first. You haters out there. Do your research before you speak Cuz you are making a fool of your self. nicotine is about as harm full as caffine and thats to the person vaping second hand vape is going to be so low that it would be harmless and vapor goes to the ground. It dose not rise like smoke. So unless you are taking a nap under your desk your not getting much in your lungs at all. you can smell the flavor cuz the sent molecules attach to the molecular structure of the air and you breathe air. And as far nas the vapor its mostly water so if you dont want to brath that you better move to AZ or somthing. and as far as the PG and VG that make up the rest of the vapor compound well you better be vegan or go vegan cuz its in alot of the every day food we have been eating for a verry long time. it is all FDA approved for human consumption. flavor and all. The VG (Vegetable Glycerin) is used for aromatherapy and thats 98% of the vapor that you see the vapor puffin on or out. Do your research people it never hurts. Im sure you know how to use google right. lol You guys need to be thankful that things are moving forword and find the good in it e cigs verry may well put most the tabaco companys out of bizz some day and that would be one of the greatest accomplishment of its time. And FYI Im sure the big name tabaco companys are probly trying there hardest to make vapor look hamful as they can so that they dont go under THINK ABOUT……..

  2. Audree says:

    I can’t believe any of you! What’s wrong with you people? Who are any of you to judge anyone! There is not a single person in this world who does not have an addiction to SOMETHING! The people who switched to e-cigs are doing the best they can!!! Stop your stupid complaining and open your eyes! There are dangers all over the world, in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food and chemicals we eat!!! NOTHING IS PURE AND SAFE!! At least these people are trying, cut them some slack! What the hell have YOU Done?! It doesn’t matter if the difference to you matters or not, the facts are the facts! VAPOR IS NOT TOBACCO SMOKE!! In just that on it’s own the people who have switched have made a small but measurable differance in not only thier own health but ours as well!! GOOD FOR THEM!!!!!! SINCE THE FDA IS SO DAMN CONCERNED ABOUT THIS I HAVE ONE THING TO SAY TO THEM! “HOW ABOUT YOU FOCUS ON THE DRUGS YOU PUT OUT EVERY DAMN YEAR THAT KILL PEOPLE, THAT ARE PERSCRIBED BY DOCTORS! FOCUS ON THAT FOR A WHILE! NOT THE PRODUCTS THAT ARE TRYING TO HELP BETTER PEOPLE AND GET THEM OFF CIGARETTES THAT WE KNOW KILL PEOPLE AND YOU STILL SELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

    1. keta says:

      So true best comment everrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Jessica Harvey says:

    I have to say I am right there with you guys on hating the haters!!! I work for a company where I go into a persons home and basically take care of THEIR stuff, cleaning, laundry, anything this person needs done because it’s difficult or impossible for them to do themselves. Now, granted, my client is MARRIED and her husband OWNS a construction company, because she has a certain physical condition she is approved for MY service. Now, the point I’m getting to…….SHE SAYS my vaper makes her sick, when I DON’T EVEN USE IT IN HER HOME!!! I could have my PV in my pocket all damn day and unless she physically SEES it she doesn’t even know anything is there…but the minute she SEES it she says she can smell it and it’s making her sick!! Now, get this, again, I HAD NOT USED it in her home, it was simply CLOSED up in my purse (I use one that has a tank on it with e-liquid inside which is WELL closed up and sealed with silicone O rings) or in my pocket. TELL me she can smell it, I DARE somebody!! My husband has the most sensitive nose of anyone I have ever met, and I have anywhere from 30-50 bottles of e-juice sitting by my chair not closed up in ANYTHING and he can’t smell it. There was only on liquid that he complained about, and it wasn’t that it made him sick, he just didn’t really care for the after smell. The amounts of residual chemicals in the vapor we exhale are so miniscule that there is no possible way it can make you sick. It takes 1 gram/liter of propylene glycol IN YOUR BLOOD before you could even possibly start feeling symptoms from that chemical itself, which means you would have to DRINK SEVERAL GALLONS as an adult of anti-freeze before effects would arise!!! Most cases of PG poisoning are from inappropriate IV administration or children who accidentally drink the stuff. Most I can say about what not to do with e-juice is don’t leave it lying around where kids can get it. My dogs will eat anything that smells even remotely good, no matter whether its ok to eat/drink or not, and they have never bothered my juice, so I’m SURE it can not be smelled by my client, her husband, or you RETARDS who are so lazy you can’t do a little research on the subject before you start “FEELING” sick when there is NOTHING to make you sick!!! Can we say hypochondriac?!?!?!

    1. Paul Holland says:

      Well put, darn well said. Vape On!

  4. Taiber says:

    Alright, so I moved in with my boyfriend about a year ago and at that time I was smoking cigarettes outside and in occasion inside. The few times I did stunk up the whole house. I started smoking e-cigs 5 months ago and the house smells amazing all the time. When ever I have friends over they ask what the lovely scent is. There is absolutely no scent. None what so ever. Every body I know notices a difference in me, my behavior and the way everything around me smells. Just because you dont agree with original cigarettes doesn’t mean there is automatically something wrong with the e-ciggs. You people who are selfish assholes need to get over yourself!

  5. Laedy831 says:

    It is no longer true that the “outside” world is free for smokers and vapors. I must go 50 feet from the property line of my work now to smoke/vape because others couldn’t simply walk around the other side of the building. They chose to walk right through the smoking section and then complain about it. As a result of this, they had so many people smoking around the strip mall next door that they have now instituted a no smoking policy on their property. They actually have a security guard over there to chase people off.

    What’s the Dennis Leary skit “you can now only smoke inside your apartment, under a blanket with all the lights off”?

    I respect that others might not like me vaping at my desk and I go outside and stand with the smokers half a block away – that’s a PERSONAL choice. I’d bet you most of the “vapers” here would be willing to move elsewhere or go outside if you asked them nicely rather than knee-jerk reacting.

    But when people come here crying about how the vapor is going to make them sick, I get a little agitated. I have spent the entire day sitting between three people, who are not smokers, HACKING UP A FRICKEN LUNG – sick with a cold or the flu. They’d be the first to cry out that my vapor is hurting them if I puffed-up inside.

    Should they be banished down the block till they’re better too?

  6. Dale Buegel says:

    While propylene glycol as a food additive has been pronounced safe by the FDA for those who still eat processed foods, the toxicity of propylene glycol vapor as a respiratory irritant for the smoker or second hand inhaler is less clear.
    From Wikipedia “According to a 2010 study by Karlstad University, the concentrations of PGEs, propylene glycol and glycol ethers in indoor air, particularly bedroom air, has been linked to increased risk of developing numerous respiratory and immune disorders in children, including asthma, hay fever, eczema, and allergies, with increased risk ranging from 50% to 180%. This concentration has been linked to use of water-based paints and water-based system cleansers.[28][29][30]”
    Bottom line, the vapors of propylene glycol can likely adversely affect health of some individuals when present in a confined space. That would be in addition to those who might be medically sensitive to the fragrances and other compounds present in small amounts in the vapors.
    While E-cigs are a step forward for smokers to reduce their own health risks, to ignore the potential harm for those who have to inhale the vapors of e-cigs, especially after they have complained about medical symptoms they have associated with those vapors, is likely to cause some strain in relationships with coworkers and others.
    Dysfunctional relationships can result from any addictive behavior where the needs of self are put ahead of the needs of others.

  7. wnyer says:

    I can’t resist, Dale you quote facts from Wikipedia…I was just watching Big Bang Theory and Raj was asked what he’s been doing the last 6 months; he responds, “You know, checking email, updating my Facebook status, ‘messing up Wikipedia entries’…” and when you google Wikipedia, the first line under the title is: “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” Not really a good place to draw facts from…

    Now let’s go to the study you quote (which had nothing to do with e’cigs btw)…the study actually says: “The increase in risk varied between 50 and 180 percent. It was also found that a higher concentration of PGEs in indoor air was associated with children evincing antibodies (IgE) against allergens such as cats, dogs, pollen. Our analyses also revealed that the use of water-based paint in the dwelling, as well as water-based cleansers, was linked to a higher concentration of PGEs in bedroom air.”
    What does this mean?
    In recent decades a huge number of chemicals have been introduced into our everyday environments. Such chemicals are primarily related to construction materials, paints, etc. and a great number of common consumer products such as cleansers, plastics, toys, cosmetics, and packaging.
    “We have previously shown that phthalates from soft PVD could be tied to allergic conditions in children,” says Carl-Gustaf Bornehag…”

    So, while you took and linked this research to e’cigs, really you should be on another site raising hell about air quality related to people who own dogs, cats, and not sure who you should contact in regards to the issue with all the plants emitting pollen. Then head to all the paint and water based cleanser companies you can think of..time to give them an earful! Before you finish, stop by all the plastics, toys, cosmetic and packaging companies you can find as they…well they are really the culprits in this study!

    Wishing you tons of luck..I’ll sit back and vape while I await to hear your success in this endeavor!

  8. Dmenace says:

    I see Dumb People…….. The smoke, the smoke, i feel sick….
    Bla, bla, bla…….

    Vaping kicks ass !

    Yes !
    E-Cigs rule !

  9. Rea says:

    To all those people complaining about substances that you guys don’t want to breath in… I ride a bike to cut down on exhaust from cars, so that I don’t leave a huge carbon footprint.. so I’d like to ask you all to stop driving your cars, because you are putting nasty dirty things into the air that I don’t want to breath, and destroying the ENTIRE environment, and ultimately offending me and my delicate lungs(Yes you sound that whiney)! I have asthma and your cars make it even worse. My BF started smoking ecigs, and he smoked outside, but ecigs he smokes inside.. It smells like coffee, yes they do have a smell.. But I’d rather that than the nose-burning arsenic, carbon monoxide, sulfur, what else???

  10. Rea says:

    I ride a bike to cut down on exhaust from cars, so that I don’t leave a huge carbon footprint.. so I’d like to ask you all to stop driving your cars, because you are putting nasty dirty things into the air that I don’t want to breath, and destroying the ENTIRE environment, and ultimately offending me and my delicate lungs(Yes you sound that whiney)! I have asthma and your cars make it even worse. My BF started smoking ecigs, and he smoked outside, but ecigs he smokes inside.. It smells like coffee, yes they do have a smell.. But I’d rather that than the nose-burning arsenic, carbon monoxide, sulfur, what else??? Your very delicate constitution must be so harmed by all the products in foods that you ingest! (Quite sure you don’t grow your own food, or kill your own meat) I bet your Doctor owns his very own environment killing sports car through your frequent doctors visits.

  11. Jcdew says:

    I guess if they ban e-cigs then they will have to ban all fog at concerts/events since it is the same thing(minus the Nicotine)
    How about vapor from hot food or coffee? I guess we will need to ban that also. I have been vaping for 3.5 years,not 1 analog cigarette since the first puff of vapor. I was coughing all the time,had sinus headaches all the time,was sick all the time in the 34 years I smoked cigarettes,I haven’t been sick once or had a sinus headache in 3.5 years since I went on e-cigs exclusively. Most anti-smokers are just looking for a excuse to whine,everyone I know has had no problems with second hand vapor.My whole family of old smokers vape now.My mother smoked for 53 years and coughed so much it would make her cry,after 3.5 years of only e-cigs not a cough at all,not one.She couldn’t go up five steps without being out of breath,now she can climb 30 stairs and not even breath hard.
    I could go on and on but the web is full of people that have had the same great experiences.
    I learned just hold the vapor in long enough so nothing comes out,this way noone can whine about it.I don’t like the ecigs that have a lighted tip, imo that just gets the whineing gears started on anti-smokers.

  12. dc666dc says:

    Being an ex heavy smoker of cigarrets and current heavy vaper of e cigs I can give my opinion that I personally feel healthier after making the switch.
    A few things I would like to say are a matter of common sense. Enough research has not been done because there hasn’t been enough long term use by large numbers of people yet to know 100% the long term affects of ecigs. Be that as it may it seems obvious that its clearly far less dangerous than traditional ciggarets.
    My problem is when other people think they have some born given right to expose everyone else around them to their personal habits..I’m sorry to say but I don’t feel anyone has that right. It is clearly easy enough to designate an area of an office/public building as an ecig approved area. Ecigs do have a slight odor, as slight as it is it is also inoffensive odor according to anyone I have vaped around, even in an enclosed area.
    My wife does not like me using either cigs or ecigs and I have agreed not to use them in her presense because even if she is my wife I do not have any right to expose her to “anything” she does not want to be exposed to, anyone who feels that they do have a right is selfish and only trying to further their own selfish cause. Before you go flapping off at the jaw in a tyrant hissy fit just try to be honest with yourself, an addicts hardest feat.
    I have far more than a nicotine addiction, I also have an 8yr long opiate addiction and I’d be dammed before I inhaled a few lines in the presense of others to get me through the day, that is a private affair and I have no right to force anyone verbally, visually, psychologically, physically, etc…to my problems. The addiction is mine and mine alone and I am the only one responsible for it.
    If all of a sudden they found a cleaner cost effective way to smoke crack would you think you have the right to hit it at your desk? If you say yes find a local rehab cuz your in over your head, beyond that you’re employer isn’t paying you to smoke or do anything other than WORK…use you’re own time for your personal endeavours.
    For those of you telling others to have a heart? I don’t owe you anything, I have my own problems and although I may relate to you or understand, it is not my obligation to understand that you cant wait till your break to feed your habit, that is YOUR problem so grow up and stop trying to get everyone else to feel sorry for you.
    These are my own opinions and we all know what opinions are like, if you don’t let me school you; they are like a holes, everyone has one.
    Of course ecig relailers want u to be able to use the product whenever you want, the more you use the more they get rich.

  13. Shawn says:

    Nancy, the reason you cannot smell the vapor is because your sense of smell is destroyed by your years of smoking. Same thing when my mom used to say “just roll the window down” if you dont like the smell.
    The vapor does smell as it is supposed to that is why you can get the vanilla, mint, etc smells.. There also is some nicotine in the second hand vapor also making the argument more valid to not allow ecigs in doors. Smokers just dont get it. … It is you that are impacting our lives, not vise versa. We didnt bring our fresh oxygen into your carcinogen filled environment. Just quit. Dont ecig, just quit. It is all will power. My grandmother and grandfather both chain smokers, quit cold turkey when told they wouldnt make it to their grandkids weddings if they didnt quit. Just grow a spine and quit already.

  14. Kiwi says:

    Tomatoes have nicotine in them. Chew on that.

  15. Tom says:

    Hate to be that guy but the author has posted a link to the actual study…

  16. Richard Beaman says:

    Maybe you should look at redecorating if you can smell any odour after “days”, I don’t think that’s the vapour? I really cannot get my head around all the fear-mongering that seems to be erupting from people’s uneducated mouths. I have seen hundreds and hundreds of success stories from people switching to e-cigarettes. I shall admit, as with anything, this alternative isn’t for everybody but the numbers speak for themselves. Please do not jump on the bandwagon at the first sign of something out of the norm. Think before you speak and maybe try a little fact reading before you comment.

  17. mikey says:

    For everyone complaining…. you do not make the rules for everyone. You are free to share your opinion however it is merely that. So if we don’t listen, all you can do is change YOUR lifestyle to accommodate YOUR opinion. Change your diet (processed meat is way worse than 2ndhand vape, lose the car, change deoderant to organic, protest all grocery stores for using 18 wheel air ruiners to deliver groceries, stop taking pharmaceutical medications use home remedies but only with non toxic ingredients, new shampoo cause yours is animal made and tested.

    This is why the united states of america is not what it used to be, astrong country. Not anymore and why…. cause everybody is concerned with “oh, that offends me”. Free country if iI wanna piss on your porch I can.

    So. Take your opinion, learn some facts and get educated. Ignorance makes for hate, specially for those of us trying to better ourselves.

    Oh and p.s. : I worry about you as much as you worry about me.

  18. MW Stepp says:

    You might find this article from Time magazine interesting.
    TIME
    in partnership with CNN
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,932876,00.html

    Medicine: Air Germicide
    Monday Nov. 16, 1942

    A powerful preventive against pneumonia, influenza and other respiratory diseases may be promised by a brilliant series of experiments conducted during the last three years at the University of Chicago’s Billings Hospital. Dr. Oswald Hope Robertson last week was making final tests with a new germicidal vapor—propylene glycol—to sterilize air.

    If the results so far obtained are confirmed, one of the age-old searches of man will finally achieve its goal.

    This venture gave promising results, but all such research lapsed for another decade. Within the last few years, several research groups (notably the University of Pennsylvania’s new Air-Borne Disease Laboratories) again began testing various sprays. Many chemicals were found to kill airborne micro-organisms quickly, even in concentrations as low as one gram of chemical per 500 cu. ft. of air.

    Trouble was that all these air germicides smelled bad, or were toxic, or irritated the respiratory tract. Dr. Robertson’s propylene glycol vapor is odorless, tasteless, nontoxic, non-irritating, cheap, highly bactericidal.

    To see the entire story, check out the link. FYI, though, the ingredients in American made ecig juices are Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerine (a standard food additive), food flavoring (which is where the taste and odor comes from), and minute amounts of nicotine–ranging from Level 2 (0.02% by volume) up to Level 36 (3- to 4-pack per day smokers, which is 3.6% by volume of the liquid). So if you are really upset at the odor, blame the food flavoring. It is illegal to purchase nicotine in strengths that could actually kill someone–unless you count the dairy industry that smears high levels of nicotine on cow udders to prevent diseases. But inhaling propylene glycol is why most vapors are sick with flu and pneumonia less than non-smokers and non-vapors alike, which is another reason so many
    doctors are recommending vaping to their patients.

  19. Mary says:

    When one says something bothers him/her, it is insensitive and inconsiderate for any other person to explain to them why their reaction is wrong. I get very sick from perfume and cologne, but I no longer say anything to colleagues and friends, because they try to explain why I’m wrong: “I just put on a little bit,” “I put it on four hours ago,” “This is a ‘natural’ perfume,” etc. If someone tells you that something you are doing bothers them, BELIEVE THEM and respect their wishes.

    1. Bin says:

      Mary, some people are ‘bothered’ and ‘upset’ by the most stupid things. You don’t seem to like other peoples perfume or cologne, do you think that they shouldn’t wear it because you don’t like it? (btw breathing in the smell of perfume will not make you sick) You don’t have that right to demand that they don’t. However, if someone is doing something which harms you then you do have the right to ask them to stop. So maybe you’re the one who needs to start respecting other peoples rights to smell of what they want to smell of!

  20. Celinka says:

    So while e-cigs might be a better alternative for smokers, it doesn’t mean that it can’t harm a non smoker. I have sensitive lungs, I used to smoke, have not in about 5 years now. My fiance does not smoke but sometimes will occasionally. He tried a non nicotine e-cig just to see. Right away my lungs started to hurt, shortly after I felt dizzy and drowsy. He did not vape much either. I know I’m allergic to perfume, not sure if the flavouring causes similar reactions as that but even today, top of chest hurts from inside, near the bronchial tubes. So this is a no nicotine e-cig too remember. So I just got second hand glycerin, alcohol, flavouring and water. But if you are sensitive, then you do not want to be near vapers. I don’t care what studies say or don’t say or what smokers think non smokers should think. I care about my body and respecting it and I was willing to see how I’d react to second hand vapor because I’d never know otherwise but I know now that I do not tolerate it. Those of us who can’t handle it need to respect ourselves. It is unfortunate that others cannot respect us and oblige us to respect their smoking needs. If it harms you, speak up, I know there are those who will respect if they know. Just don’t be afraid to say it, they won’t know otherwise.

    1. sandy greenberg says:

      agree. have minor copd,fragrances and vaping also irritate me.2 1/2 years cig free after 55 yrs of smoking.

  21. Bob says:

    Most people get upset because they just hate the thought of someone smoking…even if there is no smoke. No amount of evidence stating any facts will deter their anger. They just hate the thought of someone being able to “get away with something.” I watched a lady who was sitting behing a person who was vaping for 2 1/2 hours. She even commented about how nice the air was since the place she was at banned cigarettes. She was completely unaware that a lady was vaping just 4 feet away from her. All was well until she happened to turn around and actually see the person vaping. She the started coughing, waving her hands in the air as if to clear the air etc etc basically just being overly overdramatic. If this kind of behavior keeps up folks will just use nicotine inhalers. And guess what, you won’t be able to tell that they are using it most likely and the effects will be greater than any water vapor cloud could produce. I think the thought of someone enjoying themselves is the real issue here. I wonder if these folks go into hysterics when they go into their local Walgreens and they have a display of a vaporizer plugged in.

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