Posts Tagged ‘research lab’

Does passive vaping exist?

Before we answer this question, what does passive vaping mean to you? Is it synonymous with passive smoking? Is there such a thing as second hand vapour, maybe even third hand vapour? Does it concern you or your friends and family?


Do you vape outside just to be safe?

passive vaping


To answer these questions, in a fairly scientific manner, a research lab in Italy held an experiment with the sole purpose of identifying and quantifying the chemicals released in a closed environment from the use of an e-cig.


It involved one room, 5 vapers and some strict ground rules. The researchers decided on the e-liquid strength to be used; 11mg/ml, and then decided on which chemicals to measure in the air post vaping.

They went for total organic carbon, toluene, xylene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides nicotine, acrolene, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, glycerine and propylene glycol.

They then took the same number of cigarette smokers, set the same parameters, and compared the results, (yes, they did thoroughly clean the room before each experiment).


What they found though surprised even them. The levels of carbon monoxide did not show any variation during e-cig vaping, remaining below the detected limits of the measuring tool. This is not the case with traditional cigarettes where higher levels of carbon monoxide are detectable in the exhaled breath for several hours after a smoke.


Nicotine was not detected in the air during the vaping sessions, even after 5 vapers using e-cigs for five hours in a small room without renewal of indoor air.  Interestingly neither was propylene glycol detected, and this makes up over 50% of all e-liquids.   The researchers state, “ It’s extremely difficult to discuss the reason for these results. We could suppose that there is a different absorption kinetics for nicotine.”


In other words – they don’t know.


Acrolene, a toxic substance under scrutiny as a carcinogen was not found after vaping, though it was after tobacco cigarettes were smoked.


I have given a very brief overview of the research – called the ClearStream-Air project, by Romagna et al 2012. This researched has been peer reviewed (a good thing) and presented to a scientific panel in Helsinki.


But what was the conclusion pf the research, having measured all of the chemicals? “ This assessment indicates that passive vaping, when compared to the traditional cigarette smoking, is so low that it is just detectable. We can conclude that it could be more unhealthy to breath air in big cities compared to staying in the same room with someone who is vaping.”


So, passive vaping? maybe not.

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