New study finds e-cigarettes do not impact indoor air quality or pose issue for bystanders

Unrestricted use of e-cigarettes in an enclosed space does not cause ‘passive vaping’ or present an indoor air quality issue to bystanders according to new research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The peer-reviewed study, conducted by Fontem Ventures in collaboration with an independent UKAS-accredited laboratory, measured the presence of chemical compounds in the air before, during and after unrestricted use of e-cigarettes in a small meeting room in an office building.

“This is the first time anyone has emulated a real-life scenario to assess the impact of vaping on indoor air quality with proper control measurements,” explained Dr. Grant O’Connell, Scientist at Fontem Ventures. “A number of previous studies have relied on data generated from smoking machines, which fail to take into account basic vaping behavours like inhaling and exhaling. Importantly, our findings strongly support the conclusions made by members of the public health community that exhaled e-cigarette aerosols are unlikely to pose a risk to bystanders.”

The research also found that levels of airborne chemicals like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were significantly lower following the use of e-cigarettes, compared to reported emissions from burning scented candles.[i]

O’Connell added: “The good news is that when we tested for compounds such as nicotine, trace metals, tobacco-specific nitrosamines and others, we found no evidence that indoor vaping contravenes regulatory standards currently applied to workplaces or general indoor air quality.”

Further, the study builds on previous modelling which found that if a non-user were to share an office with an e-cigarette user (who vaped once every five minutes over an eight hour working day), the non-user would need to spend over three months in that office environment to inhale the equivalent amount of nicotine as a single cigarette.[ii][iii]

Marc Michelsen, Corporate Affairs Director at Fontem Ventures added: “There is a lot of misunderstanding about electronic vaping products (EVPs) and hence the regulatory outlook remains uncertain. What this latest research shows is that we need to ensure all future regulation is evidence-based. The French Ministry of Health recently said it does not believe so-called ‘passive vaping’ exists. In the UK, we also need to make sure we do not needlessly or inadvertently send signals that dissuade adult tobacco smokers from switching to EVPs as they look for alternatives.”

 

[i]Petry, T.; Vitale, D.; Joachim, F.J.; Smith, B.; Cruse, L.; Mascarenhas, R.; Schneider, S.; Singal, M. Human health risk evaluation of selected VOC, SVOC and particulate emissions from scented candles. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol.: RTP 2014, 69, 55–70.

[ii] Colard, S.; O’Connell, G.; Verron, T.; Cahours, X.; Pritchard, J.D. Electronic cigarettes and indoor air quality: A simple approach to modeling potential bystander exposures to nicotine. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 282–299. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/1/282

[iii]http://www.imperialtobaccoscience.com/files/pdf/environmentaltobaccosmoke/bystander_exposure_to_exhaled_e-cigarette_vapour_assessment_of_nicotine_in_ambient_air.pdf

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