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Recently WHO (the world health organisation) released a statement that they want to ban e-cigarettes because they are not sure what the vapour does in second hand form.  The statement says that no one really knows what is in the vapour and they are worried about pregnant women and children. While testing is encouraged the fact that they say that there have been no tests in simply not true.

There were in fact two tests to try and determine what exactly is in e-cigarette vapour, and the results were extremely positive. The first test was to see what an e-cig could produce with just a machine to produce the vapour, the second test was with actual smokers and e-cig users.

The test was conducted by a Maciej Goniewicz, a cancer researcher for the Department of Health Behaviour in New York.

In the first test (with the machine) the vapour contained 2.5 micro-grams per cubic meter of air, and nothing else harmful. The second test found a bit more nicotine in the air, that is 3.3 micro-grams per cubic meter of air.

But the important part is what the test did not find, that is no carbon monoxide or any of the other active ingredients in cigarette smoke that are really harmful. It is important to note here that vapour is not smoke, as even non cigarette smoke can irritate the lungs and close down the cells within the lungs making it a bit harder to breathe.  A cigarette on the other hand produced 10 times as much nicotine, along with a host of other chemicals, plus carbon monoxide as Goniwicz told Reuters in an interview.

To put the numbers in perspective Dr Micheal Siegal wrote that if a bystander stood in a room full of e-cig users for a straight 8 hours they would have consumed 0.008 of a cigarette. The bystander would have to stay in that room full of e-cig users for over 12 days to breathe in the same amount of nicotine as in one cigarette.

So what the world health organisation is trying to protect people from is one thousandth of a cigarette. This of course is not to say that people should start vaping around pregnant women and children but when standing in a room full of vapours for hours on end means that you receive next to no nicotine then the dangers of second hand vaping seem small. The danger should definitely not be related to the second hand smoke which comes out of a cigarette. After all second and even third hand smoke has been shown conclusively to cause cancer, and even in best case scenarios long term respiratory issues. To compare the two is to truly compare a mountain to a molehill.


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