E-cigarettes are often touted as a safe alternative to smoking, but a new study finds secondhand exposure to vaping may raise the chances of asthma attacks.
In a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report in the US, researchers found middle school and high school pupils with asthma were 27 percent more likely to have suffered an asthma attack if they’d been exposed to vapour from someone else’s e-cigarette.
“Little is actually known regarding the effects of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) on health, and even less is known regarding secondhand exposure to aerosols from these products,” said lead investigator Jennifer E. Bayly, BS, a doctoral student and medical research scholar at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “People often refer to these aerosols as “vapour” and may perceive them as only containing water and therefore completely harmless, which is not true.”
While ENDS aerosols contain lower levels of toxins compared to combustible cigarettes, the vapours are not free of toxic ingredients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ENDS contain heavy metals, ultrafine particulate, and cancer-causing agents.
“While we cannot definitively say these products worsen asthma, I think if I was a parent, I wouldn’t want to risk my kids being around people using these products,” said lead researcher Jennifer Bayly.