The second-hand vape debate: E-cig vapor is 99% less carcinogenic than cigarette smoke

The anti-vaping movement’s latest accusation against e-cig users is that adults living with children are more likely to vape, which theoretically exposes their kids to potentially harmful aerosols. This years-long debate over second-hand smoke versus vapor has already been decided in favor of the vapes on numerous occasions, but mainstream media keeps peddling this provably false hogwash.

The latest debate begins with a research letter published last week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics where its findings indicate that 4.9 percent of American adults with children living at home are reportedly regular vapers.   Of course, nowhere in the published report or within the contents of the articles swirling around social media contains the truly alarming data that everyone would be chiefly concerned about. How many kids are living with adults who smoke combustible tobacco products?

Over 40 percent of kids are exposed to second-hand smoke on a daily basis

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that tobacco smoke contains a potentially deadly mixture of over 7000 chemicals, hundreds of which are highly toxic and 70 of which are carcinogenic.  On the CDC website is an online pamphlet outlining the many dangers of second-hand smoke for children where agency officials make the following claims.

“About 4 out of 10 U.S. children aged 3–11 years (40.6%) are exposed to secondhand smoke.”
“In the U.S., the percentage of children and teens living with at least one smoker is about three times the percentage of nonsmoking adults who live with a smoker.”

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The Jama Pediatrics report claims that less than five percent of American households expose their children to second-hand vapor, but they fail to even mention the 40 percent findings of the CDC regarding smoke-filled households.  The latter is the real significant health threat to kids.

Furthermore, while the JAMA researchers take painstaking efforts to detail the possible contaminates contained in e-cig vapor, they completely ignore the comparable toxicities of combustible tobacco smoke.   Failing to make these contrasting distinctions might easily be viewed as scientifically negligent at best.

Vaping study compares second-hand vapor to second-hand smoke

A couple of years ago, a team of UK scientists conducted extensive research comparing the toxicities levels of aerosols produced from electronic vaping devices, heat-not-burn technology, and combustible tobacco products.  The study entitled Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke is published in the journal BMJ Tobacco Control.  Led by Dr. William E Stephens of the University of St. Andres’ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the researchers begin by noting the significant differences between the three products being tested.

Conventional cigarettes are, of course, are filled with tobacco which the CDC says produces at least 70 different carcinogens as well as potentially deadly tar and other toxins.  Heat-not-burn technology also contains tobacco, but because the leaves are heated instead of burned, the toxicities levels are theoretically lower compared to smoking.  Vaping, on the other hand, is 100 percent tobacco-free, an extremely valid point that mainstream media tends to ignore.

Related Article:  Did the CDC just confirm that vaping is NOT a gateway to teen smoking?

The UK researchers then determined that the average 15-cigarette-per-day smoker expels about 30 liters of exhaust per day.  They then pumped 30 liters of heat-not-burn, e-cig, and combustible tobacco aerosols into separate chambers while evaluating their corresponding levels of toxicities based on “the numbers of individual chemicals that exceed a specified threshold of safety” for children.   In the end, the UK scientists determined that second-hand e-cig vapor is over 99 percent less carcinogenic compared to that of combustible cigarettes.  Heat-not-burn technology falls somewhere in the middle.

“Most e-cigarette analyses indicate cancer potencies <1% that of tobacco smoke and <10% that of a heat-not-burn prototype, although a minority of analyses indicate higher potencies.”
“The conclusions of this study refer only to the chemical risks of cancer and do not account for any other carcinogenic effects such as those attributable to small particle sizes. There is some evidence that the large differentials found here between the cancer potencies of most ECs and those of tobacco smoke may be less for other medical conditions involving the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Future research should address these gaps.”

The second-hand vapor debate initially began as far back as 2015 when the New England Journal of Medicine published a research paper claiming that e-cigarette vapor is highly toxic and potentially lethal.  However, the report was soon debunked by academics around the world who accused the paper’s co-authors of employing questionable scientific testing procedures.

Though the paper has been widely refuted, the debate over second-hand vaping seems to rear its ugly head again every few months.   The Jama Pediatrics research looks to be the latest attempt to trick American adult smokers trying to quit into thinking that vaping is hazardous to your health. 

Related Article:  CDC says teen vaping is down; mainstream media blames ‘juuling’ error

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