The risks of first-hand and second-hand vaping

Vaping is the new sensation that’s taken many countries by storm. It’s become commonplace to be walking down the street and to suddenly inhale strawberry-scented vapour from a stranger’s vape pen. Something that smells so pleasant could never be sinister, right? Studies, though still preliminary, are beginning to show the truth behind vaping, including for those who breathe in vaping aerosols as a result of second-hand vaping. Read on to learn more.

A man smoking a vape pen and blowing out smoke

What is vaping?

Vaping, or the use of e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes), is when a handheld device, also known as a vape pen, is used to heat up liquid that the user then breathes into their lungs. All types of e-cigarettes, which can range from e-hookahs to personal vaporisers (PVs), are referred to as ‘ENDS’ or ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems’. Typically, e-cigarettes consist of a cartridge that is used to hold the liquid, a heating element used to convert the liquid into aerosols, a battery that powers the e-cigarette, a mouthpiece for breathing in the aerosols, and a power button1.

Vaping has, unfortunately, become attractive to people of all ages, especially teens and young adults, because it looks modern and is offered in a variety of youth-friendly flavours like fruit, bubble gum, herb, and regular tobacco flavour.

A man smoking a vape pen outdoors

Is vaping safer than cigarettes?

Many believe that vaping has less health risks than cigarettes do, but studies are beginning to show that this is not the case.

How does vaping differ from cigarettes? Instead of burning tobacco, e-cigarettes heat liquid. Despite its name, the mist that the user blows out by using a vape pen is not pure water vapour; those aerosols contain nicotine, flavouring, and other fine particles. Compared to regular cigarettes which allow around 15 puffs, e-cigarettes allow 150-300 puffs2.

Vaping, which started picking up steam throughout the past ten years, is a new technology, and scientists do not yet fully understand all of its risks. However, some of the health risks of vaping that have already been established are:

  • Addiction: vape pens contain nicotine which is highly addictive; those who start using vape pens are also more likely to become regular cigarette smokers.
  • Mental health issues: nicotine worsens both anxiety and depression and affects memory and attention, especially in children and teens.
  • Impotence: some studies are beginning to show that vaping can lead to impotence in men.
  • Sleep problems
  • Lung inflammation, disease, and damage
  • Exposure to carcinogenic fine particles3

What is most concerning is that there are only limited studies which have been performed on vaping as of now, and e-cigarettes are not adequately regulated. What is known by the few studies that have been published is that e-cigarettes contain substances that are toxic to humans such as propylene glycol, a substance released in e-cigarette vapour that is known to cause upper airway irritation2.

Another study has found that e-cigarettes have the same short-term adverse physiologic effects that regular, tobacco cigarettes do (observed after 5 minutes of use)4. This was confirmed by yet another study that showed that 10 minutes of e-cigarette use leads to airway obstruction5. An additional study claims that one session of e-cigarette usage has mechanical and inflammatory effects, both of which are exacerbated when vaping is used by asthmatics6. All studies agreed that the results of long-term studies, which are not yet available, will be crucial in order to determine the full impact of vaping on health.

The above information means that individuals who inhale second-hand vapour breathe in nicotine, fine particles like nitric oxide, and dangerous additives. Even e-cigarettes that claim to be nicotine-free have been shown to contain trace levels of nicotine which can lead to nicotine addiction in people who do not aim to consume nicotine, ultimately causing these individuals to become regular cigarette users2.

A person holding a gray vape pen in their right hand and a white vape pen in their left hand

Protect yourself from second-hand vaping with Eoleaf

With short-term studies proving that vaping is dangerous for both smokers and those impacted by second-hand smoke, we await results from long-term studies on this subject. What we do know is this: vaping is dangerous for our health.

If you are a vaper or smoker yourself, someone who lives with a vaper or smoker, or perhaps you have a neighbour who is a nicotine user in whichever form, it’s important to protect yourself and those around you from vaping’s negative effects. Investing in a powerful air purifier, like those offered by Eoleaf, can be a game-changer in protecting yourself from the harms of cigarette and e-cigarette use alike. There are some things to look for if you are in the market for an air purifier. The first thing you will need is to ensure that your air purifier contains a HEPA filter. Typically, particles in tobacco and marijuana smoke measure between 0.3-0.5 μm in size, but tobacco smoke contains dangerous nanoparticles that measure down to 0.01 μm7. Eoleaf’s HEPA filters remove all fine particles down to 0.01 μm, protecting you from fine particles released in cigarette smoke.

Another important technology in combatting cigarette smoke is an activated carbon filter. As one of the most common filtration methods in the industrial world, activated carbon is highly effective at binding itself to a variety of pollutants including ozone, benzene, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). It is also a great way to fight bad odours, a useful tool when aiming to remove smoke odours from your home!

Both these technologies are all included in Eoleaf’s air purifiers alongside 6 other filtration technologies – providing you with 8 different filtration technologies total, also including a pre-filter, photocatalysis, UV sterilisation, and ionisation. Eoleaf’s air purifiers can also help you fight allergens and germs that may be present in your breathing air.

Eoleaf's AEROPRO 100 air filter with its replacement filter sticking out the top


1 Vaping (e-cigarettes): What it is, side effects & dangers. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, August 22). Retrieved May 2, 2023, from

2 Fuoco, F. C., Buonanno, G., Stabile, L., & Vigo, P. (2014). Influential parameters on particle concentration and size distribution in the mainstream of e-cigarettes. Environmental Pollution, 184, 523–529.

3 Anzilotti, A. W. (Ed.). (2022, July). Vaping: What parents should know (for parents) - nemours kidshealth. KidsHealth. Retrieved May 2, 2023, from

4 Vardavas, C. I., Anagnostopoulos, N., Kougias, M., Evangelopoulou, V., Connolly, G. N., & Behrakis, P. K. (2011). Short-term pulmonary effects of using an electronic cigarette. Chest, 141(6), 1400–1406.

5 Meo, S. A., Ansary, M. A., Barayan, F. R., Almusallam, A. S., Almehaid, A. M., Alarifi, N. S., Alsohaibani, T. A., & Zia, I. (2018). Electronic cigarettes: Impact on lung function and fractional exhaled nitric oxide among healthy adults. American Journal of Men's Health, 13(1), 155798831880607.

6 Lappas, A. S., Tzortzi, A. S., Konstantinidi, E. M., Teloniatis, S. I., Tzavara, C. K., Gennimata, S. A., Koulouris, N. G., & Behrakis, P. K. (2017). Short-term respiratory effects of e-cigarettes in healthy individuals and smokers with asthma. Respirology, 23(3), 291–297.

7 How to choose the best air purifiers for removing tobacco smoke. (2022). Retrieved November 11, 2022, from 

Eoleaf's range of air purifiers

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