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Vaping & Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to your home's indoor air quality, is vaping better than smoking?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol produced by a vaping product, such as an electronic cigarette. Vaping doesn’t require burning like cigarette smoking. The device heats a liquid into a vapour, which then turns into aerosol. This vapour is often flavoured and can contain nicotine.

According to a survey by Health Canada in 2017, 15% of Canadians have tried a vaping product (referred to as an e-cigarette in the survey). Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Many of the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco and the tobacco smoke form when tobacco is burned.

In 2016 16.9% of Canadians aged 12 and older (roughly 5.2 million people) smoked either daily or occasionally. While evidence is still emerging, some studies suggests that using e-cigarettes is linked to improved rates of success when trying to quit smoking.

We know that smoking traditional cigarettes in the home can negatively affect your indoor air quality, but what about e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are not without risk or that you should be able to vape until your heart's content. And they are certainly not healthy. Nicotine in the vapour is still a drug and a very powerfully habit forming one at that. A 2013 study suggests that even inhaling nicotine via e-cigarettes may contribute to heart disease.

There is also evidence that e-cigarettes deliver toxins of their own like formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), nitrosamines (linked to cancer) and lead (a neurotoxin). According to Scientific America, although the toxicant levels of e-cigarettes may be 9-450 times lower than in cigarette smoke, levels of formaldehyde and metals have been found to be comparable to or higher than those found in conventional cigarettes. Silicate particles, which are a cause of lung disease, have also been found in e-cigarette vapours.

So how does this affect your indoor air quality? After all, e-cigarettes don't burn and so there's no smoke. And no smoke means no second-hand smoke. And no second-hand smoke means no health worries for those in the vicinity of the vaper. Sounds reasonable, right?

Not so fast.

A study by Wolfgang Schober of the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority published an article in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health found that vaping did in fact worsen indoor air quality. This was determined by the increased concentration of nicotine, particulate matter and aluminum, all compounds that have been linked to lung and cardiovascular disease and cancer among other health effects.

These are things that will negatively affect your home's indoor air quality, so it's a good idea to be 100% smoke and e-cigarette free indoors to protect your family's health.

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