Following on from the concerns regarding passive smoking, many of those opposed to the idea of electronic cigarettes question if there are dangers associated with passive vaping.What most newspapers continually refer to, or take their lead from, when creating stories about passive vaping is the “research” carried out by Schripp, Markewitz, Uhde and Salthammer.

When vapers breathe out what does everyone else breathe in?

If you know anything about science then you will appreciate the huge flaw made in the abstract that frames their investigation:

“passive vaping must be expected from the consumption of e-cigarettes.”

Starting off with the product being found guilty they then create a court case to support that verdict.

Woman Vaping E CigAmazingly, they concluded:

“Adverse health effects for third parties exposed cannot be excluded because the use of electronic cigarettes leads to emission of fine and ultra-fine inhalable liquid particles, nicotine and cancer-causing substances into indoor air.”

Fine and ultrafine particles:

Every breath you take involves breathing in and out fine and ultra-fine particles. It may sound serious but it isn’t.

If you sit near someone who has gone overboard with cologne, perfume or antiperspirant you are breathing in copious amounts of fine and ultra-fine particles.

The important thing is not the size of the particle; it’s what the particle is…

They go on to claim: “Beyond indoor climate, air flow conditions, room size and number of e-cigarette users many other parameters have the potential to affect “passive vaping”.”

In their research they fail to replicate real-world conditions or produce any concrete evidence to support their opinions that any danger is present in exhaled vapour.

Third-hand smoke

“Another important aspect in the future discussion about e-cigarettes will be the effect of “third hand-smoke” (THS) that mainly describes human exposure against residues of smoking on clothes, furniture and other indoor surfaces (Matt et al., 2011)“

If you see reference to this then it, again, originates from a single source.

The notion that vapour languishes on clothes as a kind of time bomb, waiting to transform into something dangerous, carries as much weight as a warning about imminent zombie or Godzilla attack.

The real evidence

Rather than relying upon thoughts of what might be happening or emotive use of the words particles & chemicals – actual research into passive vaping using “real-world conditions” has demonstrated the following:

Passive Vaping Research

The levels (in micrograms/cubic metre) were measure in a sixty cubic metre room after users had smoked or vaped for a five-hour period.

Although the research only covered one brand of personal vaping device the initial results are reasonably conclusive that there is no substance to the fears that passive vaping presents any danger.

In turn, this means that there is no basis for any fears over “third hand smoke” from vaping devices.

Research Papers

  • Acute effects of electronic and tobacco cigarette smoking on complete blood count – Paper
  • Characterization of chemicals released to the environment by
    electronic cigarettes use (ClearStream-AIR project):
    is passive vaping a reality? – Paper
  • Does e-cigarette consumption cause passive vaping? – Paper
Dave is a freelance writer for companies associated with tobacco harm reduction. He provides daily news coverage to Planet of the Vapes. He has been widely published in a number of print magazines focusing on vaping and tobacco harm reduction. A physicist that holds degrees and post-grad qualifications in business, physics, education, computer science and fine art.


  1. Just more proof that vaping is beneficial not harmful like the FDA keeps trying to get everyone to believe. I do need to say this though. That I think it’s funny when smokers complain about the smell of our vape or when walking down the street and blowing a nice cloud.when people walking towards you try to dode the cloud. Like it’s a cloud of poisonous gas.

  2. Nice article. I hadn’t even considered the effects (or lack there of) of 3rd hand vaping. Nice to see it’s still safe.

  3. Thanks for the analysis of how that “science” was flawed. I recognized some phrases in the article that certain lobbyists in my country are using quite literally, again and again, even if their claims have long been proven false. We have to keep repeating and spreading the truth about vaping.

  4. This is a really good article. I hope significantly more research is done on this subject. I can understand why people have concerns. I feel very, very uncomfortable vaping near my baby niece.

  5. In fact, my family who doesn’t vaping, they like smell of vaping, they are not bothered except if i make i big cloud in my house. :v

  6. Think I’d better stay in today just in case someone breathes on me or near me! I don’t know what they have eaten, drunk or gargled and my body might not like it!


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