Is smoking e-cigarettes indoors acceptable/safe?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by thiocyclist, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    Based on some ideas raised in a different thread.

    So called "e-cigarettes" are often billed as the safe alternative to real cigarettes (besides the other alternative, quitting). Frequently it is claimed that what is produced by the e-cigarette and exhaled is just water vapor. Usually there's a heating element that creates vapor from a solution of nicotine and/or various flavor additives.

    According to a peer-reviewed study by Goniewicz et al in Tobacco Control (published by BMJ in 2013), e-cigarette vapors contain from 9-450 times lower levels of 11 toxicants also found in real cigarettes ranging from carbonyls, metals, VOCs and nitrosamines. One potentially biasing factor is that different smokers use e-cigarettes differently. Some may purposely inhale a lot to get a bigger exposure while others may use their cigarettes more conservatively and not get much exposure at all. The authors of the study compared 15 1.8-second puffs of an e-cigarette to a whole conventional cigarette to make their claims about toxicant levels. (Believe it or not the methods of generating exposure amounts to make claims about how much of a certain toxicant is found in cigarette smoke is the subject of intense debate for as long as I have known people were studying it.)

    Further, flavor additives in some e-cigarette products are being reviewed by scientists and health officials because they may pose their own unique health hazards.

    With this in mind, should people who use e-cigarettes ("e-smokers"? I think I've heard "vapers" too) be allowed to smoke indoors? It is fairly commonplace where I live to see someone do this at restaurants, theatre lobbies and especially of course bars (even if non-smoking). I have yet to see someone openly complain about it. I don't have a strong opinion either way at this point in time, although I am highly suspicious of the flavored e-cigarettes as their health effects are very poorly understood at this time. On the other hand plain e-cigarettes would appear on first glance to pollute their environment and their consumer far less than traditional cigarettes.

  2. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I dont know if its acceptable, but I have noticed a number of people vaping where cigarettes would otherwise not be allowed.

    One was at an outdoor Flaming Lips concert. Ok, no problem, outdoors the vape smoke dissipates pretty well.
    Another was at an indoor concert. It left a hookah tobacco like smell. Kind of fruity but not bothersome.
    I was in line at a grocery store, I think it was Stater Bros., and witnessed the lady in line ahead of me hit her e-cig. It didnt bother me personally, but I dont think thats allowed (I dunhno, maybe it is?).
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Op called it smoking. It isn't. Vaping is the accurate description. I work in a three person office of a not for profit charity. I vape all day and my assistant doesn't notice other than an occasional scent of a pipe. It reminds her if her dad so she likes it.

    It should be allowed because studies, except for those by the various lung associations, show it as more like 1000 times less harmful. It's interesting to dig and find that worldwide, lung associations are heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies that hawk their own, expensive, nicotine replacement therapies. That's what I dug up before taking the plunge 20 months ago. Since then I have smoked four analog cigarettes and a cigarillo.

    Works for me.
  4. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    It's funny to me that people want to smoke indoors. Previously a lot of people told me it was an excuse to go outside (at work or at parties). Funny haha, not funny "I care about this". Just an observation.

    The fruity smell would have bugged me -- apparently the flavor additives are getting the attention of the toxicology world.

    Okay, "vaping". I don't care as long as we all know what we're discussing.

    So you're willing to think one group trying to make a buck selling smoking cessation pills has a bias but not the other group selling smoking cessation e-cigarettes? That seems a bit naive. Just like drug companies want you to buy smoking cessation pills and may try to publish misleading claims about their efficacy, the e-cigarette makers will also try to suggest their product is safe, possibly safer than it really is, to promote sales. And if you're going to say stuff like the bit I bolded you should really share your source.

    The paper I cited did find one compound (acetaldehyde) was 450x less abundant in the e-cigarette. That's approaching 1000. One the other hand formaldehyde was the "least less abundant" at 9x less. Again that was comparing 15 puffs to a whole "analog" cigarette (lol @ "analog cigarette", for whatever reason that term makes me laugh). Two of the twelve authors disclosed competing interests, and the journal is peer reviewed. I think writing it off as drug industry pulp is a disservice to the scientists who took the time to do the study and concluded, "We found that the e-cigarette vapours contained some toxic substances. The levels of the toxicants were 9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found in the reference product [a medical nicotine inhaler]." Clearly not vilifying e-cigarettes by any stretch so it frustrates me that you immediately decided to smear a swath of peer-reviewed work in this field as biased against your position. Not all of it is funded or published by "lung associations" either.
  5. It doesn't bother me, other than one time when a friend had some that stunk, they were apparently pineapple or something, but gah, horrid smelling!
  6. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    My experience with it wasn't good. My roomie vapes, or whatever the correct terminology is. Our rooms are separated by a formerly walk through closet that has been divided by a thin veneer panel. He vaped in his room and that stuff stunk to high heaven and made my room stink all the time. When I had a chest cold once with bronchitis the fumes from his vaping choked the crap outta me. I had to go knock on his door and ask him to please go outside with it because it was killing me, which he happily did.

    It filled my room with quite a nasty stench that I couldn't do much about other than move out of the house, which I didn't feel like doing. He finally stopped vaping when he had a heart attack and the doctor had to put a stint inside of the already existing stint he had in one of his heart valves. I'm sorry that happened to him but I'm so glad I don't have to live in that stench anymore. It was really nasty.
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Here you are. And of course I understand marketing biases involved. Still the evidence shown of the selected compounds in vape vs. tobacco is compelling.

    Edit the wrong link this is right.
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Sorry links aren't pasting properly. Can you cut and paste please?
  9. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    I have seen them used at concerts, weddings, comedy shows, and bars/clubs. This is around San Francisco, and not to stereotype, but if it was even a tiny social problem, there would be a policy, or a policy in the making.

    I have friends that use them. Standing right next to them I can't smell a thing. And as an ex-smoker, I can tell immediately if someone is smoking, or has smoked in the last couple of hours. If I still smoked, I would be comfortable using one indoors. Just my experience/opinion.
  10. I recently read in the paper that in my state, California, they want to make it illegal to vape anywhere were smoking analog cigs are illegal. My wife wants me to switch to vaping and her main reason, other than wanting to keep me healthy, is so I can vape in places she likes to go. If vaping is not as bad as smoking for you or others around you, you would think the politicians would allow vaping as an alternate to smoking. I am not sure what they are thinking. Is it just a do-gooder thing???
  11. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    First link only discusses nitrosamines in detail. Important but hardly the sole toxicant of cigarette smoke. The data are definitely three orders of mag lower as you said but on the other hand that table was compiled from three sources--and the one that determined the trace level of nitrosamine in the e-cigarette was paid for by the company that makes the e-cigarette. That's a pretty massive conflict of interest. Further, the report was never peer-reviewed or published in a reputable journal--not the end of world but definitely a strike against its credibility. From these data you definitely cannot safely conclude e-cigarettes are "like 1000 times less harmful" than normal cigarettes. First they only looked at nitrosamines, and second the data they used to make the comparison is clearly suspect.

    Link two seems to compare smoked cigarettes to chewed tobacco. Some of the data is interesting (and a bit sketchy the way it's presented in one of the tables) but I'm not sure how this is supposed to affect what you're saying about e-cigarettes being "like 1000 times less harmful."
  12. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    If it had a strong smell it probably had the flavor additives in it. That's the stuff I have heard might be quite bad for you, actually.
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    True enough but there are at least hundreds of carcinogens known to be in tobacco; a representative sample of really suspect ones were taken. Paints a broad picture possibly.

    Propylene glycol USP is used as a food humectant. Vegetable glycerine is a common food additive. The same nicotine source is used for vape juice, Nicorettes and inhalers: tobacco. USA mfr'd juice has only USA sourced nicotine and is made by careful proud American know how.



    Long term effects of pure nicotine inhaled :
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I don't know all the details. I just know that Saturday night some lady was doing it behind me all night and I didn't even know until my wife mentioned it. It's a lot better than cig smoke that's for sure. (Ex-smoker myself. Not putting anyone down.)
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Btw I don't know why food grade flavors are a concern. They're everywhere and we heat them up all the time. Nor saying that foods that have then are healthy choices but...
  16. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    They're not all the same first off and second what goes in your mouth shouldn't necessarily go in your lungs too. Basic toxicology.
  17. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    Yeah, that could very well be the problem.
  18. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Well I was headed for emphysema or cancer anyway, so.... I feel so much better now, lung capacity is recovering and no wheezing for many many months. Harm reduction. I know I shiiul quit but I LIKE IT! :p
  19. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I used to rehearse with a guitarist in close quarters who would vape. If I didn't see him doing it I wouldn't even know. I couldn't even smell it.
  20. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    Hey, I think there's a good chance it's better for you than smoking. But it's good to be skeptical. I hope it really does work for your sake.
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