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Secondhand exposure to electronic cigarettes may be dangerous

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There has been a big hype around the sale of electronic cigarettes with assertions that they are somehow entirely free of potential health hazards. This clearly may not be true, with even secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes exposing others involuntarily to nicotine, reports Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Dec. 12, 2013. Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) lead this study which showed that secondhand exposure to vapors from electronic cigarettes exposed people to nicotine.

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This study showed that e-cigarettes are a source of secondhand exposure to nicotine but not to combustion toxicants, according to the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Although the average concentration of nicotine resulting from smoking tobacco cigarettes was found to be 10 times higher than from e-cigarettes, nicotine has nevetheless been found in smoke from e-cigarettes. The researchers concluded using an e-cigarette in indoor environments may involuntarily expose nonusers to nicotine. It has been advised that more research be pursued to evaluate the health consequences of secondhand exposure to nicotine.

Electronic cigarettes are consumer products which are designed to generate nicotine aerosol, or vapor, without the associated combustion of tobacco. The nicotine solution is heated, and the vapor is taken into the lungs,
when an e-cigarette user takes a puff. It is felt that future research should explore emissions and exposures to other toxins and compounds which have been identified in e-cigarettes such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein. It should also be determined whether or not secondhand exposure to e-cigarette vapors leads to reinforcement of nicotine addiction. There are clearly significant questions remaining regarding the health impact of e-cigarettes among smokers and nonsmokers which should be addressed.



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