The release of certain chemicals in the air has been shown to contribute to the effects of climate change. Extensive research has shown that secondhand smoke emitted from cigarettes includes many of the chemicals that directly increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, fewer studies have been conducted to examine the effect of vapour emitted from vaping devices.
With growing concerns about the byproducts of human-developed products and processes, EDGE Vaping explores whether vaping has an impact on air pollution, drawing comparisons to other known harmful undertakings, such as car exhausts and cigarette smoking.
Indoor vaping study reveals high nicotine levels
In 2018, a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology assessed indoor air quality at an electronic cigarette convention in Maryland, US. The gathering was a public event in which a large number of vapers gathered and were encouraged to vape.
The results from the study indicated that vaping vapour increases the level of nicotine in the air. So far, studies on the effect of nicotine on bystanders are yet to find concrete evidence that inhaling secondhand nicotine has a physical effect. To find out more about what nicotine does to the body, read our guide on the physiological effects of vaping here.
The study concluded that, in an indoor environment with a high amount of vapour emitted, the levels of nicotine in the air are at a similar level as cigarette smoke. Smaller devices like the EDGE GO pod system will typically contribute less to this whereas more powerful sub-ohm mods will have a greater impact.
Does smoke increase pollution?
The harmful effects of cigarettes have been extensively studied, and it is accepted that cigarette smoke contains a number of chemicals that are detrimental to human health. Smoke from cigarettes is made up of thousands of chemicals - including no fewer than 70 of which are known to cause cancer.
Cigarette smoke, in part, contains carbon dioxide, methane and other noxious chemicals. While carbon dioxide and methane are not deadly to humans, they directly add to atmospheric pollution, worsening the air quality for all living things.
Further studies have shown that the accumulated effect of smoking globally adds almost 2.6 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide and 5.2 billion kilograms of methane to the atmosphere annually.
Cigarette smoke more polluting than a car exhaust
In 2004, a controlled study showed that cigarette smoke produces 10 times more air pollution than a diesel car exhaust. Particulate matter - pollution in the form of a mixture of solids and liquid drops in the air - was recorded after a diesel engine was left running inside a garage for an hour. The experiment was repeated with cigarette smoke, which produced 10 times the level of particulate matter in the air - and 15 times the level found outdoors at its peak.
While vapour from e-cigarettes has been found to increase the level of nicotine in the air, the air quality is substantially less affected by its contents than cigarette smoke. That is because the latter also contains nicotine, on top of the 70 carcinogenic chemicals, and carbon dioxide and methane. Conversely, BBC Science Focus Magazine reported the idea that, as smokers live 10 years less on average than non-smokers, there is a decade’s worth of emissions negated, which would have generated much more CO2 than the cigarettes they would have smoked.
Find more vaping information
At EDGE Vaping, we are committed to sharing accurate information about the effects of vaping, both physiologically and environmentally. For more information about vaping, be sure to explore EDGE Vaping’s News Hub.
With over 5 years within the vaping industry, Ian has amassed a wealth of knowledge that is unparalleled throughout the industry. His knowledge extends beyond e-liquids and devices, but covers safety and compliance as well as best practice and more to name but a few.