The harmful effects of e-cigarettes and vape have been no secret. Recently, a few countries including America and India took a bold step of completely banning e-cigarettes and vapes. The largest group of consumers of these products are the young adults and the youth. Nearly one-third of middle and high school students have been reportedly exposed to aerosol, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2018. Various researches have told us that these products harm not only the person who is using it but also others who may just be inhaling it.
Assistant professor at Northeastern University, Boston, Susan Mello has found that second hand aerosols (vaping) were more prevalent in 2018 and that teens were more exposed to it than e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are also known as vapes or vape pens and the smoke exhaled by the user while vaping is called aerosol. E-cigarettes contain certain harmful materials like “ultrafine particles, volatile organic compounds, flavorings, heavy metals such as lead and nicotine, and other cancer-causing chemicals,” Mello says.
“Unlike cigarette smoke, which we’ve been studying for 70-plus years, we just don’t have enough data to make claims about the long-term effects of second-hand aerosol exposure,” Mello says.
Apart from serious respiratory illness, and toxic effects on the lungs and cells, vaping also causes irritation, inflammation, and negative reaction from the immune system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aerosol sometimes contains harmful cancer-causing chemicals as well.
In a survey, it has been found that the rate of students exposed to second-hand aerosol is less than the percentage of students exposed to second-hand smoke.
“It’s like comparing driving 100 mph with and without wearing a seat-belt,” she says. “Both are dangerous—one just less so. The true comparison for second-hand aerosol should not be second-hand smoke; it should be clean air.”