Study Squashes Fears Over Secondhand Exposure To Vaping

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

A forthcoming study investigating the health impact of aerosol vapor emitted from electronic cigarettes shows it poses no meaningful secondhand risks.

The study, set to be published in the Journal of Aerosol Science in January, investigates the immediate health effects of vaping on a daily user and the impact to those in the user’s vicinity. Dr. Mauro Scungio of the University of Cassino in Italy spearheaded the research effort, which concluded that chemical levels in the vapor released from e-cigarettes are well below the safety limits suggested by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, reports Health Thoroughfare.

The researchers determined that vaping is statistically 5,700 times less harmful to users than combustible cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of developing smoking related illnesses. The scientists compared particles in the air from e-cigarette vapor with particle levels released from tobacco smoke to reach their conclusions.

“The extra risk of develop [sic] lung cancer due to the mainstream EC aerosol exposure is lower than the limit values proposed by EPA and WHO, leading to the conclusion that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes are a safe way for smokers to quit, allowing them to reduce harm to themselves and those around them. The majority of cancer-causing chemicals and toxins from smoking are released through combustion, therefore smokeless tobacco and vapor products reduce harm caused by cigarettes to the user by more than 90 percent.

Despite the promising news on alternative smoking technologies and their potential to reduce smoking-related illnesses and save millions of lives, health care bodies remain vehemently opposed to the products. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently helped derail efforts to expand access to reduced-risk products in Turkey.

“The surprise is not that consumers welcome the opportunity to forgo inhalation of the products of combustion, but that any health agency would be opposing rather than empowering smokers who want to improve their health,” David Sweanor of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The failure to jettison moralistic abstinence-only policies not only sustains smoking and perpetuates 20,000 global deaths a day from cigarette smoking, but violates basic public health ethics. The WHO should aspire to more than protecting the horrendously deadly cigarette status quo.”

In counties like the United Kingdom, where the government is embracing vaping, smokers appear to be transitioning off cigarettes at a rapid pace. A study from V2 Cigs U.K. released Nov. 4 reveals that roughly 5 million British smokers tried to quit cigarettes in the past 12 months. The government’s annual stop-smoking campaign in October endorsed e-cigarettes for smokers for the first time this year after 53 percent of participants reported using e-cigarettes during the 2016 campaign.

Only a week into the Stoptober campaign, Vape Club, the largest online retailer of vapor products in the U.K., revealed that sales of e-cigarette starter kits jumped by 37 percent over figures from the same period last year. Lawmakers in the U.K. are now urging health services to promote vaping year round for smokers trying to quit after the success of this year’s Stoptober campaign.

The U.K. currently has the second lowest smoking rate in all of Europe, and officials say a transition to vaping is a big part of the reason.

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