California scientists have found that the air in vapers’ homes has no more airborne particulate matter than the air in non-vapers’ homes.
By Jim McDonald | May 25th, 2017
The research was conducted by scientists from San Diego State University (SDSU). The study was funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute — one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The study looked at 300 family homes in San Diego, all of which had at least one smoker and one child under age 14. Particle monitors were installed in two locations within each home. For three months, the monitors continuously scanned the household air for fine particles between 0.5 and 2.5 micrometers. The monitors then transmitted data to the scientists.
Typical particles in that size range come from smoke and other combustion products, dust, fungal spores, and auto emissions. These particles are small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they can cause breathing and cardiovascular problems. This is how secondhand smoke affects those living in homes with smokers.
“Our primary goal was to figure out what’s happening in houses that leads to higher air particle levels and, in turn, to unhealthy environments for kids,” said graduate student John Bellettiere, one of the co-authors of the study. The researchers also interviewed the participants to ask what activities were occurring at certain times.
Smoking vs. vaping
In houses where smokers lit up inside, the mean particle level was almost twice that of homes where smokers stepped outside. Cigarettes were the biggest contributor to high particle levels. But marijuana smoke had a large effect too — which seemed to surprise the scientists. Candles, incense, fireplaces, dusting the floor, spray cleaning products, and cooking with oil also contributed to homes with increased particle levels.
In the 14.1 percent of homes where e-cigarettes were used, the particle counts were unremarkable — which ought to be a story in itself. “We observed no apparent difference in the weekly mean particle distribution between 43 homes reporting any electronic cigarette usage and those reporting none,” wrote the authors. That was all they said about vaping.
“The aim of our research is, ultimately, to find effective ways to promote smoke-free homes and also to find good strategies, in general, for reducing exposure to household pollution,” said lead author Neil Klepeis. “The findings from our work will allow for better education and feedback to families.”
Maybe the SDSU researchers could start by educating smokers on how much less dangerous pollution is in the air in vapers’ homes, and encouraging people to switch. It’d be nice if they let Prof. Glantz — high priest of the Church of Ultrafine Particles –know too.
But don’t hold your breath. You’re not likely to hear an encouraging word about e-cigs anytime soon from pot-loving, vape-hating California. This study will be widely ignored.