In the study which was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease earlier this week, researchers from the CDC released the results from a US survey conducted with the aim of gathering the public’s opinion about the danger of secondhand vaping for children.
The results obtained said that, “Overall, 5.3% of adults responded that secondhand EVP exposure caused “no harm” to children, 39.9% responded “little harm” or “some harm,” 21.5% responded “a lot of harm,” and 33.3% responded “don’t know.””
The above data led to the researchers concluding that current smokers and vapers were more likely to consider secondhand vapor as harmless. “Current cigarette smokers and EVP users had greater odds of reporting that exposure to secondhand EVP aerosol causes “no harm” or “little harm” or “some harm” to children compared with never cigarette smokers and never EVP users. However, scientific evidence indicates that EVP aerosol exhaled into the air potentially exposes nonusers to aerosolized nicotine and other harmful and potentially harmful substances, including heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, and volatile organic compounds.”
Is secondhand vapor really toxic?
In a blog published yesterday, public health expert Dr. Michael Siegel pointed out that despite evidence to the contrary, the CDC is clearly implying that those who perceived little or no harm from secondhand vaping, are clearly in the wrong and that due to this the public needs to be further educated about the topic.
“The US Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless and can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine,” says the opening line of the study abstract.
Dr. Siegel pointed out that by releasing the above claims the CDC failed to take in account “one of the major principles of environmental health, which is that the dose of exposure to a chemical is critical in assessing its health impact.” He added that the fact that the emitted aerosol contains nicotine and other potentially toxic chemicals, does not equate to the vapor being harmful. Toxicity would depend upon “the levels of these chemicals in ambient air under actual (real-life) conditions and the duration of exposure.”
“To date, there is no evidence that there is any substantial exposure to harmful chemicals in real-life situations that most adults and children encounter. On the contrary, there is evidence that secondhand “vapor” dissipates rapidly and that exposure to nicotine and other chemicals is very low,” pointed out Siegel.
The danger from making inaccurate claims
Hence, despite the fact that education about any risks pertaining to vaping, just like reasonable regulations, are encouraged by health experts such as Dr. Siegel. Spreading inaccurate information in order to exaggerate harms, and perhaps increase the level of alarm towards vaping, is considered unacceptable. Such misinformation will not only encourage unreasonable policies, but more importantly, possibly scare smokers away from considering a switch to the proven safer alternatives. A move that could potentially save their life.