Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Is Vaping Safer then Cigarette Smoking?
Since the early 2000s’, vaping has become more and more popular and many, both at and outside work, have switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping. Others, who are not smokers, use e-cigarettes. This begs the questions, “Is Vaping Safer than Cigarette Smoking?”
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor. This vapor actually consists of fine particles containing a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with Nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals and metals, but not tobacco.
Because of its newness, there is little information on the long-term health effects. However, according Michael Joseph Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Clinical Research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease states “there’s almost no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.”
On one hand, we already know that cigarettes are very bad for you. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) “Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.” It causes more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. It increases the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke by two to four times, lung cancer in men by 25 times, and by women 25.7 times.
On the other hand, both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, contain Nicotine. According to the National Institutes of Health, use of Nicotine products cause an increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal disorders. It also affects immune response, reproductive health, and proliferates cells that can lead to cancer.
Although OSHA has been silent on the subject of e-cigarettes in the workplace, many companies have now included them in their smoking policies. Because of the probable adverse health effects and the concerns of other workers, employers may either ban or restrict the use of e-cigarettes as long as there is a similar policy on smoking cigarettes.
So the best answer to the question, “Is Vaping Safer than Cigarette Smoking?,” is maybe.
OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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