Surprising New Research Proves Smoke And Vapor Are Vastly Different


According to a study published recently, vapor dissipates into the air at a significantly faster rate than smoke

Secondhand smoke has been a known cause of cancer for many years now. As such we’ve implemented public smoking bans almost everywhere in an effort to prevent harm to non-smokers. In fact, some researchers even now warn about third-hand smoke, or the residual tar left on clothes and walls of smoking homes. With all of this being the case, it’s no wonder why so many people are concerned whether or not secondhand vaping presents the same sorts of risks to bystanders as smoking does.

That’s why researchers are moving quickly to understand if public vaping should be banned in the same fashion as tobacco. While this type of research is only just starting to produce results, the initial findings should have vapers very excited. In fact, a recently published study found that vaping particles dissipate into the air almost instantly, compared with nearly an hour for cigarette smoke. These findings are bolstering claims that not only should public vaping be allowed, but forcing vapers to use “smoking only” areas puts them at risk of relapse.

New Research

The study, entitled Characterization of the Spatial and Temporal Dispersion Difference Between Exhaled E-Cigarette Mist and Cigarette Smoke, was led by Dr. Dainius Martuzevicius and published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research. The researchers set out to better understand the fundamental differences between vapor and smoke. To test this, they took a test model and placed them at a set distance from a smoker or vaper. The participants would vape or smoke at different distances from the mannequin, which would test the concentration in the air. They also did these experiments under different simulated room conditions. In addition to the aerosol particle concentration, they also examined the particle size under different circumstances. After collecting all of their data, the researchers immediately noticed some critical patterns. They found several significant differences between the concentration and size of the vapor and smoke particles.

Interestingly, the concentration tested directly after the first puff was almost identical, but the two figures quickly fell out of sync. For example, with each subsequent puff of smoke, the concentration would increase dramatically, taking at least 45 minutes after stopping for the concentration to return to background levels. This was not at all the case for vapor, which wouldn’t increase with each puff. Instead, these e-cigarette particles evaporated almost instantaneously even without any ventilation. Ultimately they concluded that the e-cigarette vapor was tiny liquid droplets, which evaporate exceptionally quickly, while smoke particles are much larger and comparatively stable, requiring active ventilation.

Other Data On Vapor and Smoke

This is not the first study to conclude that vapor is much safer than traditional cigarette smoke. In fact a few reports from the last year start to build a strong case that vaping is entirely different and ought to be regulated as such. For example, a study published last year by researchers at the University of California at San Diego concluded that even consistent secondhand vapor in the home doesn’t negatively affect air quality. The researchers installed air quality monitoring devices in over 300 public housing apartments and tested the concentration of harmful substances. Their results were evident, “We observed no apparent difference in the weekly mean particle distribution between 43 homes reporting any electronic cigarette usage and those reporting none.”

But what about in vape shops, where the concentration of vapor is higher than likely anywhere else? Well, a survey of vape shop air quality conducted by the California Department of Public Health last year seems to support what we already know about secondhand vaping. This particular study is so telling because the tested vape shop didn’t have any active ventilation, despite the many people vaping. It was so heavy that clouds were visible at all times. Even in these conditions, of the 22 substances tested for, only one was detected using the standard method, with just four others detectable using more advanced techniques. Regardless, even in this extreme case, the concentrations observed represent similar levels to what you are exposed to in everyday air.


Secondhand smoke was a huge wake-up call for non-smokers who felt like they were safe. So it’s understandable why we as a society want to avoid a similar situation with vaping. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like legislators are taking peer-reviewed research into account, and instead, are making their decisions based on what feels correct. Most would rather simply apply tobacco regulations and restrictions on vaping and call it a day, but would we force recovering alcoholics to get soda at a bar? Of course not, just as we shouldn’t force vapers to share smoking areas with traditional smokers. Especially now given the growing evidence proving secondhand vaping is harmless to bystanders. Helping people quit smoking also includes helping them stay off cigarettes, but forcing vapers to use smoking areas will only lead some to switch back to tobacco.

Are you surprised how quickly vapor dissipates? Do you think that forcing vapers to use smoking areas is putting them at risk? What’s the best way to improve the public understanding of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.

Dustin has been vaping for almost a decade. He found e-cigarettes in 2008 and quickly became drawn to them as an early adopter. He's been writing reviews ever since and has established himself as a well-versed authority on the subject.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *