Is Secondhand Smoke from E-Cigarettes Risky?

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2014-05-04 11:22:09

The tobacco industry has seen its fair share of controversies, one being the endless campaigns to stop smokers to quit their habit. Perhaps the good news in this context has been the emergence of electronic cigarettes. These battery powered devices emit harmless smoke or vapour, which is way less harmful than the conventional smoke from ordinary tobacco smokes. Notably, it is common to find people vaping in public spaces where normal cigars are banned.

Are the People around a User Safe?

Despite the e-cig culture becoming popular with those trying to quit, the fact that they still emit smoke brings in a new angle to the picture. There has been a debate that these electronic vaping devices could pose a risk to both the user, and other people around. Even though a smoker will get his fill for the nicotine craving, and still not take in the tar and monoxide found in a normal cigarette, the vapour will affect non users.

The passive exposure to vapour from e-cigs is believed to differ from real cigarettes, even though it is less toxic. The scenario is slowly becoming a legal concern, given that there are slight regulatory requirements on the use of e-cigs. Health experts are still looking into the exact dangers that non smokers could pick from second-hand smoke from the gadget. The real focus being on kids, pregnant moms, and people with predisposed health conditions. Until the analysis is done to ascertain if there are truly harmful toxins in e-cig emissions, the gadget remains safe for now.

More than the Passive Smoker

A research highlighted by the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal has indeed pointed the existence of mild carcinogens in different e-cig brands. These are thought to have harmful side effects, which could leave other people around the smoker at risk. Surprisingly, it is not the passive smoker who is at risk here. E-cig users are also faced with similar consequences. These users tend to be exposed to the vapour more, and inhale the larger portion of emissions compared to the people around them.

 Brewing Controversy

Even when the vaping practice is thought to be combustion free, controversy has been brewing with a faction of the population fighting to have them accepted in public places, while the latter fights to ban them alongside tobacco cigarettes. E-cigs generally emit a vapour which incorporates propylene glycol, a substance that is used in stage or theater to create smoke. However, the only reason they are accepted is the level of pollution the cause, which is way below the levels of conventional puffs.

Despite the controversies going around, e-cigs are still promoted. However relevant censorship bodies including the FDA have yet to come out clearly whether the product has possibilities of harm or good for both users and the public. Even though there are no legal interventions that can be trusted or charged to cater for the non smoking public, there is a serious need to protect communities from glamorous e-cig marketing, and the effect it could have on passive smokers.


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