Speculations And Findings About Second Hand Vapor

The World Health Organization has suggested that countries ban the use of e cigs indoors in public places. In their opinion, there is not enough evidence to consider them safe but some indication that there could be negative effects from inhaling second hand vapor.

Other groups argue that there have already been findings to contradict this suggestion; that e cigs are proving they are not just relatively safe and virtually risk-free. Apparently, carcinogens have been measured in emissions from e cigs. Consumers are confused as they should be. What are the risks of inhaling second hand vapor?

Maybe None

Do you walk around outside beside a busy street? There is a good chance you are inhaling the toxic fumes emitted by cars, buses, and trucks. Strangely, no one in a position of power suggests we ban cars. Nor do they recommend that factories spewing forth plumes of toxic smoke be shut-down. What’s riskier: the fumes from e cig vapor or the air we breathe?

Safe or Safer

That is not what WHO is getting at, however. They are concerned that consumers will approach the topic with complete ignorance, believing claims that e cigs emit zero toxins when that is not the case. They are troubled by the potential as much as the reality, particularly where nicotine vapor is concerned.

Wherever a vaper uses a nicotine-laced e liquid, he emits nicotine in his vapor. This is a toxin that could be absorbed into bystanders’ bodies. There is no science yet to measure what long-term damage this might cause including potential addiction to nicotine. Many vapers have given up nicotine, in which case there needs to be further research regarding non-nicotine related toxicity.

E cigs are, however, safer than cigarettes. There can be no doubt about that, but is that good enough?

More than Emissions

The World Health Organization claims that their worries about second hand vapor go beyond the chemicals being absorbed by second hand vapers to encompass the dangers of watching people vape. They are the same as those faced by smokers. Will young people see someone vaping and think it would be cool to vape too? Will they pick up a cigarette instead in their efforts to fit in? There is evidence to suggest young people will do this and evidence to the contrary.

Surveys are tricky things because from these one might assume that those who were surveyed answered honestly, or that the sector that took the survey represents a cross-section. No one really knows that young people will not decide to purchase e cigs after watching someone vape and being exposed to nicotine. Financial evidence demonstrates that sales of e cigs have risen dramatically among teenagers.

The risk of absorbing nicotine and becoming addicted is small, but the chance of being affected by the behavior and how sophisticated it appears is stronger. Pressure to smoke cigarettes frequently begins with peer pressure. E cigs could lead to the same pressures in schools.


Pressure on the e cig industry is tremendous and has led some of the wealthier groups to fund their own studies. One must always be wary of findings from studies directed by any organization with a vested interest in the outcome. Maybe the World Health Organization is considered unbiased but cancer groups that say e cigs could be a good thing have strong reasons to lean this way. Whatever scientists reveal, there will still be arguments to the opposite effect.

It seems that overall, most agree that vapor seems an improvement over cigarette smoke, in that it doesn’t contain those 1,000’s of chemicals, and many professionals point towards that and claim they must be a safer alternative in that sense, and now the question beckons what is in e-cigs, and how do those impact everyone who is exposed to vapor, directly and indirectly. Time will tell.


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