Passive Vaping: A Threat to Non-Smokers?

Also see:  New Vaping Study Finds No Evidence Of “Passive Vaping” in Non-Vapers Blood Counts

According to a post on UK Vapers,  Sainsbury’s, one of the big three UK supermarket chains, has banned e cigarettes in staff areas.

The reason?

A fear of passive smoking.

What’s In E-Cig Vapour?

vapour ring.

While we don’t yet know exactly what is in tobacco smoke, we do know exactly what is in e-cigarettes.

According to a 2011 study by Siegel and Cohn:

none of the more than 10,000 chemicals present in tobacco smoke, including over 40 known carcinogens, has been shown to be present in the cartridge or vapor of electronic cigarettes in anything greater than trace quality.

We asked scientists what they thought about the dangers of “passive vaping”:

With respect to smokers, there is substantial and compelling scientific research documenting that consuming the ingredients in e-cigarettes (nicotine, propylene glycol, water and flavors) is vastly safer than burning tobacco and inhaling 3000+ toxic by-products.  Claiming that e-cigarettes are dangerous for non-smokers is about as credible as claiming that air travel is dangerous for people who never set foot in an airplane.

Source: Professor Brad  Rodu Click here for more quotes.

And here’s what Professor Carl Phillips had to say about the subject:

Nicotine Content in Exhaled Electronic Cigarette Vapour

A cup of coffee.
Vaping is thought to have a similar risk profile to coffee.

While nicotine is addictive, it’s not responsible for 99% of the harm of smoking.

Scientists believe that nicotine carries around the same risk profile as a cup of coffee.

Not that that really matters, because non-smokers absorb just as much nicotine from vegetables as they do from second-hand tobacco smoke:

Using limited data on nicotine content of foodstuffs (tea, tomato, potato, green pepper, and eggplant) and the 198991 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSDII), the absorbed dose of nicotine is shown to be significant compared to present day environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) nicotine exposures.

Source: Riskworld

Unfortunately, currently there are no studies into the nicotine content of exhaled vapour.

However, when I contacted Professor Siegel of the Tobacco Analysis Blog, he told me that he would be surprised if there was much nicotine at all in second hand vapour, as the nicotine in vapour is so readily absorbed.

What next for Sainsbury’s?


Sainsbury’s has understandably reacted to staff concerns.

However, given the rate that the e-cigarette market is growing at the moment, it’s likely that the company, like Tesco’s, will sell e-cigarettes at some point in the future.

When that happens, a ban on the devices in its own staff area might be hard to explain to customers!

Is passive vaping a risk to non-vapers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Article Sources

Cahn Z, Siegel M, Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control: A step forward or a repeat of past mistakes? Public Health Pol (2011) 32: 16.

Gratt L.B, Dietary Contributions to Nicotine Body Burden, Society for Risk Analysis, 1995 Meeting

16 thoughts on “Passive Vaping: A Threat to Non-Smokers?”

  1. My sister became very ill because of passive smoking in her work place, she had 2 months of work because of it so I never smoked around her. Since I started smoking e-cigs she has not suffered from passive smoking at all, so, you tell me, are non smokers in danger of passive smoking, I don’t think so, and my sister would agree that e-cigs are not dangerous to non smokers

  2. I am really beginning to get annoyed about this. The anti-smoking lobby won a ban, isn’t that enough for them? Instead of just sitting back and letting Sainsbury’s or anyone else for that matter get away with this it’s time we began to make our voices heard. This is getting ridiculous. It’s time that somebody told them to stop behaving like bullies and get their facts right before banning something out of hand. I am sick to death of the anti smoking lobby and their holier than thou attitudes. And I am tired of just sitting back and letting them stamp all over us. Isn’t it time that WE began to tell them all the truth about ecigs? If we just sit back and do nothing then we will find that our vapes are banned as well. Enough is enough. Why do they keep going on about passive smoking when they walk down a road and get more than enough pollutants from the cars? It’s time that we got OUR own lobbyists out there. They are all brain dead if they don’t know the difference between SMOKE and VAPOUR.

    1. Very TRUE!!! they would ban coffee vapor if they knew it had the same side effects as e-juice vapor! (None) They are all morons who just want to stir up dumb news to enforce unnecessary laws. They are more offensive to me removing my rights than anyone vaping near me. What a load of crap. Vape is a great way to get smokers on a safe alternative!

  3. Fortunately, we have got lobbyists. ECITA, who we are a member of, are working hard to win acceptance of e-cigs. They are working directly with trading standards to create a standard of regulation acceptable to both responsible retailers and trading standards, are in communication with the MHRA, lobby the government and are just back from a meeting in Brussels.

    At the consumer level there is ECCA (, but they need more members and more support!

  4. Elizabeth – I agree with you 100%. The anti-smoking lobby is becoming less a health issue and more a prohibitionist morality crusade. I read an article that the city of Boston has banned the sale of e-cigarettes (wish I could remember where I saw that article now) It seems their reason for this is because e-cigs look too much like the real thing, and therefore would ‘normalise’ smoking, and god forbid – if the children see people using them it will encourage them to start smoking! Absolutely ridiculous! I too am sick of these do gooding fanatics.

  5. Exactly what “good” have these supposed “do-gooders” actually done?? In spite of ever increasing taxes, bans, denormalization, and the fact that most smokers want to quit and have tried to quit with and without medication…the overall smoking rate has hardly changed in the past decade. Meanwhile, these supposed “do-gooders” are raking in BI££ION$ every year in pharmaceutical and healthcare money treating addiction and diseases caused or worsened by continued smoking.

  6. I think you have hit the nail on the head, Thad, basically it is now a propoganda campaign for quit smoking aids which often don’t work/have many side effects.

  7. James (Not the same poster as Before me)

    I agree with James above, I tried many stop smoking aids and medication, including Champix!!! Which I can tell you was far more harmful to me than tobacco. I was left with a continual bleeding nose, 5 hours a day of feeling valiantly sick and needing to drink copious amounts of water, the feeling that my brains where falling out whenever I blew my nose and even now, some 10 month after stopping the tables, I still gurn (grind my teeth involuntarily) in my sleep!!! Way to go modern medicine.

    I recommend everyone to take a look at this website about Champix;

    then tell me that vapour smoking is not a significant leap forward in helping smokers who just can’t quit despite their best efforts to do so.

    I have tried most options out there, including my GP. My last call was to say I had quit for 2 months and just had a fag, please help. I was told they would book me in with the smoking clinic in 2 weeks time!!!! by which I was a full smoker again. When I arrived they just wrote ‘relapsed’ into my medical records and offered me more Champix. I declined and said I just need something to calm me down while I go through that stages of withdrawal (i was struggling with the anger stage). Their responce was they have nothing, but if I wanted, I could go to the surgery once a week and shout at them to blow off steam!! Isnt the NHS wonderful!!!!!!!

    Suffice to say, I didnt and eventually decided that the saying ‘your doctor of pharmacist can help you quit smoking’ was just a complete lie, as everyones needs are different and despite telling them where I was failing, they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) help me.

    If the government wanted to help everyone get smoke free they would stop taxing cigarettes! That way they would have no incentive for wanting you to keep smoking, as it stands, its just double standards and secretly they need your adiction to tobacco.

    This is why I feel quite strongly about e-cigs vapour, as it has allowed me to be cigarette free and I feel much healthier than I have in many years. I have no side effects and I can breath easily again. So tell me this is bad for me now, cause I dont think i’ll believe you, when you encourage Champix and pretend you want to help me while still taking tax revenue from Tobacco sales!!!


  8. Pingback: Does e-cigarette consumption cause passive vaping? Yes, but its hardly worth worrying about.

  9. Why anyone would want to be addicted to something that costs so much and makes them a social outcast is beyond me… You simply lack the will power to stop.

    Spend the money on something else…like Peppers, Tomatoes and Egg plants… you get a meal at the same time! Maybe a gym membership because no doubt 99% of you sit round getting no exercise.

    Stop finding excuses to continue being un-healthy and reliant on substances people are getting you addicted too. Just remember, everyone said smoking was healthy at the start! 😉

    I smoked for 20+ years, I wouldn’t dream of using an ecig based on experts telling me it was safe… simply give up and see the benefits of not being addicted to one of the stupidest addictions ever.

      1. Right on Golf !. E Cigs have helped me a great deal !. I had smoked for over 40 years, tried the pills, patches, losengers, gums, Chantex, nothing worked !. So 3 years ago, I began E-Puffen it, and I still am. I guess, according to Jim, the pompous ass, that makes me a weak person. I wonder if he ever drinks any alcohol or take any other drugs. Well, maybe he is so perfect. I doubt he has many friends. If he does, they are probably like him ! 🙂

    1. Ha, shut up man. Take your head out of your arse. Congrats on the willpower but preachy former smokers are the worst kind of douchebag.

  10. People who smoke and then go to ecigs are just trading one addiction for another. Why should non smokers have to put up with further harm? We had to endure the selfishness of non stop smoking. Everybody now knows it kills innocent people. If you choose to light up that is your choice but keep the fumes away from those of us who respect our health and clean lifestyle. Most people who smoke also spend most of their evenings in the pub. How about trade the addictions for a gym membership and healthy food? Ecigs or cigarettes are addictions. There are studies that now prove ecigs are actually harmful if done for years at a time. The whole idea of them was to get people to stop smoking, but to eventually lower the strength of the ecig liquid, and to eventually stop. Very expensive habits that are not great for you. I have no problem if people want to pollute their own lungs, but keep your vape and your smoke to yourself. In 2018 most normal people in modern countries are trading poor health choices for healthy ones? I get angry when these selfish people hog bus stops, etc smoking away while the rest of us have to stand outside on rainy days.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top