Is Exposure to Vaping Really Bad for Kids?

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Over the years, a lot has been said in the mainstream media about the pros and cons of vaping. Some of the most common arguments against vaping tend to revolve around the harms for children and young people – whether that’s through teens choosing to vape ‘child friendly’ flavors or second-hand vapor from tobacco e-juice having a damaging effect on their health.


Second hand vapor has hit the headlines recently, with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention publishing a report about the perceptions vapers have when it comes to the effect on children. The survey polled more than 4,000 adults around the United States, and was published in Preventing Chronic Disease on the 31st of May this year.

The report outlines that one third of the vaping adults surveyed believed that ‘no harm’ came as a result of exposure to second hand vapor. A further 40% said they though exposure caused little to no harm. The news articles since the release of this report have been largely negative towards the opinions held by vapers – such as this piece from Lifehacker.

The tone is moralizing, and often patronizing, but the results of the CDCs survey leave us with many questions – not least where the evidence for ‘second hand vapor’ being a danger comes from.

The underlying tone of by the CDC report and subsequent news articles seems to be that the participants in the survey are 100% wrong, that second hand vaping is obviously lethal to children, and that all parents should give up their habit immediately to avoid the negative consequences. However, such scaremongering without substantiated evidence isn’t helpful for anyone. And while there have been a couple of studies conducted to test the harm of second hand vaping, the evidence isn’t conclusive by any means.

The California Department of Public Health carried out air sampling across the state earlier this month, but the results of their studies are carried out in controlled environments. One, for example, was carried out in a relatively small shop with no ventilation. Many of the employees and more than ten customers were actively vaping while the sampling took place. Which obviously means that any results will be skewered.

For this reason, many people have been quick to point out that theory, studies, and real life don’t always marry well. For instance, Public Health Expert Michael Siegel outlines that ‘there is no evidence that there is any substantial exposure to harmful chemicals in real-life situations that most adults and children encounter’.

In other words, for second-hand vapor to be of any real danger to bystanders, they would have to be around someone vaping constantly, in an enclosed space, for long periods of time. Siegel continues, ‘on the contrary, there is evidence that secondhand “vapor” dissipates rapidly and that exposure to nicotine and other chemicals is very low’. In addition, there is a realm of evidence that suggests second hand smoking is dangerous to bystanders – evidence that has been in the public domain for years now.

This article from NPC takes a more measured approach to the issues at hand. It concludes with a statement from Erika Sword, a parent and the Assistant Vice President of National Advocacy with the American Lung Association. She urges parents to be aware of the potential dangers to young children, and to keep vape out of there way where possible. Which, from most people’s perspective would be the sensible thing to do. Balance is key – parents shouldn’t be forced to give up vaping, especially if it’s being used as a smoking cessation aid, but common sense should be exercised at all times.

Try to avoid vaping around children in enclosed spaces if at all possible, and obviously (this really goes without saying) don’t leave your vaping devices in a place where they could be reached and potentially used by young people.

What do you make of the argument about second hand vaping and the effects of tobacco e-juice? Do you think the CDC report holds up to scrutiny? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and on social media!


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Meet Vishal Gaikar, the tech wizard hailing from Pune, India, who's on a mission to decode the digital universe one blog post at a time. When he's not tinkering with gadgets or diving deep into the digital realm, you can find him concocting the perfect cup of chai or plotting his next adventure. Follow his tech escapades on Twitter and buckle up for a wild ride through the world of innovation and geekery!

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