There has been a lot of research on the effects of e-cigarette vapor conducted in a very short amount of time. While scientists and researchers have been working overtime to attempt to shed light on the truth about e-cigarette vapor exposure, the reality is there is no way to study the long term effects of something that just simply hasn’t been around that long. Even so, it is becoming more apparent, in fact undeniable, that e-cigarettes are a far superior alternative to smoking, both for the user and for anyone who may be exposed to vapor secondhand.
Even though e-cigarettes don’t always have the warmest reception stateside, over in England researchers and doctors from all walks of science medical fields seem to be embracing the devices, not only as harm reducers, but also as a true tool to aid in smoking cessation. Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians are both respected medical organizations in the UK and all over the world. They both have shown through their thorough study of the available research that e-cigarette vapor is as much as 95% less harmful than tobacco smoke. Both for the vaper and non-vaper, a general switch toward e-cigarette use could bring on a public health change that could help prevent the nearly half a million lives that are lost every year to cigarette smoke, both first and secondhand.
Both organization produced substantial reports, both well over 100 pages, that supported their claims about e-cigarettes. Through a survey of the research that is readily available, the did not create claims from information they pulled out of thin air, and with a little investigation it’s easy to see how these respected organizations came to such conclusions. Even so, when compared with cigarette smoke few people try to deny that vapor is safer for the user, but what about a bystander– what is the real risk of a person running into harmful secondhand exposure at the hand of e-cig vapor?
The initial studies have shown that e-cigarettes are not only exceedingly safer than their combustible predecessors, but when it comes down to it, they produce a vapor that more easily compared to regular, ambient air than it is to cancerous smoke. A measure of harmful and potentially harmful constituents of e-cigarette vapor concluded that the levels of outdoor, ambient air contained virtually the same amount of constituents as the vapor itself. Even more telling, another study showed that vapor emitted from an e-cigarette contained significantly less volatile organic compounds than cigarette smoke, indoor air and even regular, exhaled human breath.
While it seems that the e-cigarette vapor tested is less harmful than tobacco smoke– there is even more proof confirming its relative safety by questioning whether inhaling secondhand vapor is even possible at all. A new study presented in April 2016 at the annual Workplace and Indoor Aerosols Conference, purported for the first time that e-cigarette particles are not likely to cause any sort of indoor air pollution due in main part to their composition itself.
When you heat up a liquid, rather than burn a dry leaf, you are introducing a by-product that, despite its appearance, is just fundamentally different than smoke. E-cigarette vapor, according to the recent study, is really just comprised of liquid droplets. Much like other aerosols it begins to dissipate as soon as it hits the open atmosphere. The study authors claim this happens in mere seconds after the primary user exhales the vapor. This means that not only has vapor been shown to be safer, it also appears as though significant secondary inhalation is near impossible.
When people decide to switch from smoking to vaping, it may seem to the outside observer that they are making the switch for themselves. However, as many former smokers know, when you quit you are more than just improving your life and health, you are improving the lives of those closest to you. If you switch to e-cigs you can rest assured, you and your loved ones will be better off for it.
Amber Whaley is a writer, musician and mom. She writes on electronic cigarette research and news for IEC. She is passionate about writing and covering issues, especially those that can help people improve their lives and the lives of those around them.