New study shows e-cig users exhale nicotine and fine particles into the air where bystanders are breathing

December 13, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The research group at Roswell Park Cancer Center has just published a nice paper in which they measure the amount of nicotine, fine particles, and several other toxins in the air around someone using e-cigarettes.  They also collected the same information for conventional cigarettes. 

It is also consistent with work showing that passive vapers absorb nicotine.

The e-cigarettes were used for 5 minutes and, separately, two cigarettes were smoked during a 30 minute period.
There were significant increases in nicotine and ultrafine particles following use of both products, with the cigarettes producing about 10 times as much nicotine and 7 times as much particulate matter as the e-cigarettes.

Bottom line:  For a given level of consumption, e-cigarettes pollute the air less than conventional cigarettes.

But they pollute the air than nonsmokers are breathing,

The fact that e-cigs are only 1/7 or 1/10 as polluting as cigarettes doesn't mean that they cannot generate substantial pollution in the real world.  It is not unusual for bars and casinos where a lot of people are smoking have particulate pollution levels of 500 mcg/m3 ro 1000 mcg/m3.  What the new study means is that the same density of vapers would lead to pollution levels of about 70 to 140 mcg/m3, which is still 5-10 times what is considered acceptable.

Thus, this study adds to the case that e-cigarettes should not be allowed anywhere that cigarettes are not allowed.

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