Is A Vapor Cloud The Same Thing As Second-Hand Smoke?

The main reason that many legislators want to regulate vaping under the same set of laws as smoking is due to the misconception that the vapor cloud produced when a person exhales after drawing from a personal vaporizer or e-cigarette is the same thing as the second-hand smoke produced when a person is smoking tobacco.  Across the country, legislation is being put forth in an attempt to regulate vaping in the same way that smoking is regulated, and under the same definitions.  Essentially, legislation like the Clean Indoor Air Act regulate the act of smoking in specific areas due to the potential dangers associated with breathing in second-hand smoke when you are in close proximity to a person using tobacco products.  While there is no debate as to the dangers associated with innocent people being forced to breathe in second-hand smoke, the scientific studies that have been done so far with regards to vapor are showing results that prove that smoking and vaping are not the same thing, and that the cloud of vapor that is expelled by a person who is vaping is completely different than second-hand smoke.  Aside from the obvious fact that there is actually no smoke whatsoever in a vapor cloud, the most important fact that must be recognized by the public is that there is no increase in the particulate matter in the air when a person is vaping over the natural amounts of particulate matter in the air at any point in time. There is always a small, measurable amount of particulate matter in the air you are breathing at any point, and a person vaping next to you does not add in any measurable way to that level of particulate matter.  The Drexel University School of Public Health did an analysis of vaping and particulate matter recently, and found that you would need 100 draws from an electronic cigarette or vaping device to add the same amount of particulate matter to the air as a single puff from a cigarette.

The main issue with vaping in public places is that it looks the same as smoking a cigarette, and the vapor cloud that is produced looks like smoke.  It is important to remember that vapor is not smoke and does not have the same dangers associated with it.  The vapor cloud produced when a person is vaping is not second-hand smoke, and does not present the same dangers to you and your children that second-hand smoke does.  It is a cloud of vaporized liquid, and is not is any way a carcinogen, or the burning of any substance.  While it remains to be seen if and how electronic cigarettes and vaping will be regulated in the future, it is important to realize that it is not smoking, and should not be regulated by the same set of rules that apply to smoking.  Using scientific studies and actual facts is important to consider before simply reacting because something “looks like” something else.