Can you get second hand smoke from a vape?


Can you get second hand smoke from a vape?

Secondhand vape exposure can be harmful. This is because people can inhale the fine particles in vape aerosol, which may have health risks. 

Vape aerosol contains nicotine and toxic substances, which people can inhale through secondhand exposure.

What are vape pens?

vape pens have a power source that heats a tank or cartridge that holds e-cigarette liquid which is inhaled by the user when taking a breath.  The user then exhales as a normal function of breathing and produces a cloud of aerosolized e-cigarette liquid. Vape pens are battery-powered devices that are pocket-sized, easily concealed devices.

What are vape pens

What is in a vape pen?

the reports show that contains the following ingredients: 

1. nicotine

2. propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which may increase irritation of the airways and lungs. irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes; and damage to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

3. flavorings, such as diacetyl, which may cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe lung disease

4. formaldehyde, which may cause cancer.

5. secondhand exposure to aerosol from electronic nicotine delivery systems increases the risk of asthma symptoms and asthma attacks in young people.

6. Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

7. Benzene (found in car exhausts)

Research support

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, 40% of U.S. adults believe that children’s exposure to secondhand aerosol from e-cigarettes causes only some or little harm—and 5% think it causes no harm at all.

“Vaping and secondhand vaping is just as dangerous,” clarifies Nader Nakhleh, D.O., a board-certified pediatric pulmonologist. “Now it is our mission as experts to change the conversation around vaping from being a ‘better’ alternative to smoking to actually being equally as detrimental.” 

"Aerosols from vaping contain heavy metals and ultrafine particles," the expert said. "If somebody else is vaping in the same area, you're breathing it – those particles are entering your lungs, where they can do damage."

Key points

Second-hand and third-hand smoke and vapor are dangerous, especially for babies and children.

Passive smoking increases children’s risk of early death, lung diseases, and other health problems.

Vapes contain some of the same harmful chemicals as cigarettes.

To reduce risk, have a smoke-free and vape-free home and car.

Secondhand Exposure

When a person smokes or vapes, they inhale the chemicals in the product. People around the smoker or vapers are also exposed to these chemicals. This exposure is called secondhand exposure. 

The types and amounts of chemicals these products release vary depending on several factors, including:

Secondhand Exposure

1. The type of product. 

2. The chemicals in the product. 

3. How much of the product is used?

4. How long has the product been used?     

Even after a person stops smoking or vaping, some of the chemicals released can remain indoors for a long time. 

These chemicals can build up on hard surfaces such as walls, tables, and floors, and embed in soft surfaces like clothing, upholstery, drapes, bedding, and carpets.

In some cases, these chemicals can be released back into the air, leading to thirdhand exposure. 

People experience thirdhand exposure when they touch contaminated surfaces or breathe the air where smoking or vaping chemicals are released from surfaces back into the air.  

Why do we worry about second and third-hand smoke and vaping aerosols?

The smoke from cigarettes and the aerosols from e-cigarettes are dangerous. Tobacco smoke can cause:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • lung damage
  • asthma

For the pregnant woman and her baby, tobacco smoke is especially dangerous and can increase the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, and sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

Why do we worry about second and third-hand smoke and vaping aerosols

Hazards of vaping aerosols

secondhand smokers might face the same effects that a firsthand smoker might experience.

1. Irritation of the lining of the airways which can lead to chronic cough

2. Difficulty breathing

3. Heart disease 

4. Lung diseases such as COPD, emphysema and asthma

5. Cancer

6. Respiratory and sinus infections 

secondhand aerosol can lead to more asthma attacks. They expose non-users to harmful and potentially cancer-causing chemicals. 

How to protect against electronic cigarette aerosols?

The only way to protect your friends and family from electronic cigarette aerosols is to keep the environment around them smoke-free.

The best way to do that is to quit smoking completely. If you're not ready to quit, make every effort to keep your smoke away from other people and never smoke indoors or in the car.

You should:

1. always smoke outside

2. ask your visitors to smoke outside

3. not smoke in the car or allow anyone else to


people should minimize their exposure to vaping, ideally by leaving the area.