RTI International, a leading nonprofit U.S. research institute, has released a study exploring the potential public health concerns associated with vapor emitted from e-cigarettes. The organization’s research paper—titled “Exhaled electronic cigarette emissions: What’s your secondhand exposure?”—examines the toxins in e-cigarette vapors and the impact they could have on people exposed to secondhand “smoke.”
Although the long-term impact of exposure to e-cigarette vapor is still unknown, the study—which was authored by Jonathan Thornburg, Ph.D., director of Exposure and Aerosol Technology at RTI—found that emissions from e-cigarettes contain enough nicotine and other chemicals to cause concern.
Nonusers who are exposed to secondhand vapor are potentially breathing in aerosol particles similar in size to those found in diesel-engine smoke and smoke produced by traditional cigarettes. Because e-cigarettes lack regulation, the type and amount of chemicals and potential toxins they may contain could vary greatly depending on the device being used.
RTI is particularly concerned with the lack of regulation regarding e-cigarettes and the surge in marketing and sales that has occurred as a result. The e-cigarette category experienced annual sales that doubled yearly to $1 billion in 2013, according to RTI.