Is Second Hand Vapor Safe?

One of the main reasons why people are cautious of vapers is because of the vapour that comes off and the possibilities of the vapour harming bystanders. With over 40,000 people dying each year from second hand smoke, people can be scared that second hand vapour does the same. Today I will explain the truth behind second hand vapour.

What Is Second Hand Vapor?

Second hand vapour is the vapour which comes from vaping and goes into the air. Like second-hand smoke, it stays in the air long enough that anybody in the same room is likely to inhale some of the vapour, so long as the room is small enough. 

Vapers produce vapour clouds by heating an e-liquid with an atomizer that holds a small metal coil, which changes it into the vapour you see. When people vape, the second hand vapour only comes out the lungs and mouths of the vapers. Vapour doesn't constantly come off of the vape itself, unlike with a cigarette.

The vaper has to inhale to generate vapour, and there is much less of the contaminants present in the vapour by the time they exhale, since the vapers retain most of it in their mouths, lungs, and throats. Second hand vaping isn't really a problem, because the non-vapers get so little of the vape contents

What’s in Second Hand Vapor?

The vapour contains neither carbon monoxide nor tar since they do not contain tobacco (tobacco flavoured e-liquids don't contain tobacco, but tobacco flavourings). Dangerous chemicals and metals, however, can be found in very small amounts, though, compared to second hand smoke, the toxicant levels are tiny, meaning the dangers of second-hand vaping are even less important.

Apart from PG and VG, what vapers exhale into the air does not contain high levels of anything. According to Igor Burstyn, toxicology specialist at Drexel University, while the contents of e-cig vapour inhaled by bystanders justify surveillance, there is so little contamination in exhaled vapour that it is doubtful there will be any danger.

The vapour which is not inhaled falls on the ground. Anyone concerned with the unabsorbed nicotine that falls on floors and furniture may want to try not vaping around children or pets who may lick the surfaces, though not much nicotine is left in the settled residue. According to a report by the University of California in 2016, 93.8% of the nicotine inhaled is retained by the vaper and is not part of the exhaled vapour.

So Is Second Hand Vapour Safe?

At present, no health risks of second hand vaping to bystanders have been identified. Igor Burstyn concluded that exposure to toxic chemicals through second hand vapour is so minimal that it poses no real threat. However harmful it is to the vaper, it is 10, 100 or even 1000 times less harmful for the bystander.

This does not however mean that you can vape anywhere. Even though second-hand vaping isn't proven to be dangerous to others, concerns of people around you  need to be considered. Vapers should be polite and respectful when a friend or visitor objects, and vape elsewhere. Obviously, if someone around you has asthma, it is better to avoid vaping around them, because PG and some flavourings can irritate the airways.

Alternatively, if you want to vape inside but without annoying other people, try stealth vaping by either using a PG e-liquid or using a different kit.

Read More: A Guide to Stealth Vaping


Overall, while second hand vaping hasn't been shown to be dangerous to people around you, it is still better to be courteous, since some people may not want the vapour. Also be wary of children, as there haven't yet been studies proving it is safe for kids. Happy vaping!