CDC Claims on Secondhand Vapor Exposure Unsubstantiated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published data pertaining to the dangers associated with secondhand vapor, but their claims about toxicity and exposure went unsupported.
In a study conducted by the CDC, published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers provided results from their U.S. based survey. This survey was conducted in an attempt to gather public opinion about the dangers of secondhand vaping for kids. The results stated, “Overall, 5.3% of adults responded that secondhand EVP exposure caused “no harm” to children, 39.9% responded “little harm” or “some harm,” 21.5% responded “a lot of harm,” and 33.3% responded “don’t know.””
This data led the aforementioned researchers to conclude that current smokers alongside vapers were more likely to consider secondhand vapor as harmless. The researchers stated, “Current cigarette smokers and EVP users had greater odds of reporting that exposure to secondhand EVP aerosol causes “no harm” or “little harm” or “some harm” to children compared with never cigarette smokers and never EVP users. However, scientific evidence indicates that EVP aerosol exhaled into the air potentially exposes nonusers to aerosolized nicotine and other harmful and potentially harmful substances, including heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, and volatile organic compounds.”
This begs the question: is secondhand vapor actually toxic for those who breathe it in? A publication by health expert Dr. Michael Siegel stated that in spite of evidence to the contrary, what is important here is that the CDC is implying that the people who perceived little or no harm are in the wrong, and because of this the general public needs to be better educated about vaping and secondhand vapor.
Understand that the opening line to the study stated, “The US Surgeon General has concluded that e- cigarette aerosol is not harmless and can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine.”
Dr. Siegel has pointed out that this level of misinformation is going to encourage unreasonable legislation, and it is going to scare off smokers who might be vacillating about safer alternatives to traditional tobacco cigarettes. In essence, the CDC did not take into consider that, according to Dr. Siegel, “one of the major principles of environmental health, which is that the dose of exposure to a chemical is critical in assessing its health impact.” Moreover, the fact that the aerosol emitted has nicotine and other toxic chemicals in it does not mean that the vapor itself is harmful. Toxicity in these cases is contingent entirely upon, “the levels of these chemicals in ambient air under actual (real-life) conditions and the duration of exposure.”
Moreover, Dr. Siegel expounded further that, “To date, there is no evidence that there is any substantial exposure to harmful chemicals in real-life situations that most adults and children encounter. On the contrary, there is evidence that secondhand “vapor” dissipates rapidly and that exposure to nicotine and other chemicals is very low”.
What Dangers Arise from Inaccurate Claims
When inaccurate or misleading claims are made, as they were by the CDC in this instance, there are many dangers which arise. People like Dr. Siegel have in fact encouraged further education about risks associated with vaping for the general public, alongside several other health experts. Yet, inaccurate information is being spread in an attempt to exaggerate the current level of harm or increase the level of alarm toward e-cigarettes and vaping. Such behavior is not only unprofessional, but unethical. Misleading the public, whether it is because one is being paid by the big tobacco industries to do so, or because of a personal political move one stands to gain by shutting down the industry, it is still unethical and unprofessional. It is entirely unacceptable.This falsehood will not only encourage unreasonable policies, but it will steer smokers away from a proven safer alternatives that stands to potentially save their lives.
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