Study Sinks Claims Vaping Poses A Threat To Bystanders

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

A new study is adding to a growing body of evidence showing fears over secondhand exposure to vapor exhaled by users of electronic cigarettes are unfounded.

Research published Monday in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research found vapor particles are droplets of liquid that evaporate within seconds of being exhaled. The study involved users of both open and closed system vapor products to evaluated particle concentrations in the surrounding air.

Scientists observed that exhaled vapor particles decay and evaporate back to background levels at a rapid pace, including in closed room environments without any ventilation systems. Cigarette smoke, however, increased particle concentrations with every successive puff, taking roughly 30 to 45 minutes for particles in the environment to return to background levels. (RELATED: A Majority Of Adult Smokers Now Believe Vaping Is More Hazardous To Their Health Than Cigarettes)

“This shows us how fundamentally different exhaled e-vapor particles are compared to those released when smoking conventional cigarettes, the latter of which linger in the air for longer periods of time,” Dr. Grant O’Connell, manager of corporate affairs at Fontem Ventures and lead author of the study, said in a statement Monday. “Exhaled e-vapor aerosol particles have a different chemical composition to cigarette smoke and here we show the physical properties are also significantly different. This data adds to the growing body of evidence that vaping indoors is unlikely to pose an air quality issue.”

Researchers with Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) collaborated with scientists at Fontem Ventures, the makers of Blu e-cigarettes, for the study.

The findings are in line with recent research appearing in the Journal of Aerosol Science, which shows vapor from e-cigarettes does not pose any meaningful secondhand risks.

The study, published in January, reveals 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. The study determines that vaping is statistically 5,700 times less harmful to users than combustible cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of developing smoking related illnesses.

Advocates of smoking alternatives say alarmism over vaping misses the larger point about e-cigarettes, namely that they are a harm reduction tool helping millions of smokers across the world quit the deadly habit.

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