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The Study On Second Hand E-cigarettes

The Study On Second Hand E-cigarettes

Second Hand E-cigarettes Vape Myths

The Daily Mail reports second hand vaping doubles the risk of developing a wheeze. Lets take a look at what is actually going on.

Once again misinformation about vaping is being spread through bias articles. The latest is from the Daily Mail. In this they claim exposure to second hand nicotine from vaping doubles the risk of young adults developing a wheeze[1]. So let’s take a look at these claims.

The Flaws With This Study

Firstly before diving into the article it is important to point out the biggest flaw of the study[2] they use. A team from the University of California used data taken from over 2000 participants to analyse the impacts of vaping on young adults. Specifically it looked at the respiratory health of those exposed to second hand nicotine from vaping.

Professor Peter Hajek pointed out that 208 out of 223 participants either smoked or vaped and/or lived with someone who smokes. This shows that the pool of participants can’t provide a fair record. This is because there are far more people who have been exposed to cigarette smoke than those who aren’t.

This makes the intentions of the study even more obvious as it doesn’t provide data related to second hand smoke. Even though the study shows most participants were exposed to first or second hand cigarette smoke.

The study also failed to look at the participants exposure outside of the house. Those taking part can’t of been locked in their homes for the whole study so factors such as socialising with friends and their workplace should also be considered.

Another important factor was that participants were only considered as smokers or vapers if they had done so in the last 30 days. This meant the rest were considered as non smokers. Respiratory symptoms can last over a month even after quitting so putting ex smokers into the same category as non smokers is just bad practice.

These are all points that the article does mentioned, but chooses to leave until the end once people have read the misleading title.

Another study tells a different story about second hand vaping

The article suggest that a ban on vaping in public areas is needed. If this was to happen it could have a massive impact on those trying to quit smoking. Not only will it limit where people can vape. It will also give the false perception that it is as harmful as smoking. This may put off many people considering switching to vaping.

A study carried out by Igor Burstyn looked at exposure to e-cig vapour in the workplace[3]. Over 9,000 obversions took place which looked at recognised workplace exposure standards. They then used this to determine whether the chemicals found in e-cigarette vapour posed a health risk to those exposed to it from colleagues. It concluded that exposure to second hand vapour does not warrant health concerns. Especially by the standards used in the work place, which are high.

What we know about vaping

Health experts and government bodies agree that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking[4]. The number of smokers in the UK making the switch to vaping is growing. The latest advice by NICE and NCSCT is for stop smoking services to offer vaping as NRT. Plus, the NHS will soon be offering e-cigarettes on prescription to help people across the UK quit.


[1] Leatham, X. (2022). Exposure to secondhand vaping leads to risk of a cough in young adults. [online] Mail Online. Available at: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-10387335/Exposure-second-hand-nicotine-VAPING-doubles-risk-young-adults-developing-wheeze.html

[2] Islam, T., Braymiller, J., Eckel, S.P., Liu, F., Tackett, A.P., Rebuli, M.E., Barrington-Trimis, J. and McConnell, R. (2022). Secondhand nicotine vaping at home and respiratory symptoms in young adults. Thorax. [online] Available at: https://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2022/01/05/thoraxjnl-2021-217041#ref-7

[3]. ‘Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks’ Igor Burstyn 2019 <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24406205/>

[4] UK Health Security Agency 2021 ‘Use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces. Advice to inform evidence-based policy making. <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/768952/PHE-advice-on-use-of-e-cigarettes-in-public-places-and-workplaces.PDF>’

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