E-cigarettes are rapidly becoming popular substitutes for cigarette smoking both among adolescents and adults. Their sales have doubled each year since 2008.
The e-cigarette user puffs a vapor containing nicotine and other products through a battery-operated device that looks similar to a traditional cigarette. There are very few studies that have documented either their safety or effectiveness for helping smokers to stop smoking. Although the smoke emitted from the device and inhaled and exhaled by the smoker (termed: “vaping”) is odorless, Roswell Park Researchers recently conducted studies to evaluate the thirdhand nicotine exposure from these devices.
Thirdhand smoke is defined as the particles and chemicals emitted by a smoldering cigarette that deposit on any surface in the near proximity of the burning cigarette. This includes clothing, furniture, windows, rugs, drapes, tables and windows.
The researchers noted after an e-cigarette was “vaped” with a syringe in an exposure chamber, nicotine levels on five different surfaces of the smoking chamber were measured including glass, floors, walls, windows , wood, and metal. Increased nicotine residues were noted on all five surfaces, but they noted that the floor and windows had the greatest increase in nicotine residue.
Future research will likely need to explore the risks of exposure to carcinogens from e-cigarette “vaping”.
Such data strengthen the rationale to ban vaping in public areas. Already many US cities and airports have banned “public vaping”.