Scientists Argue That What Vapes Produce Isn’t Vapor

Vapes, a popular name for e-cigarettes, have become more popular among young people in recent years as they are marketed as safe and easy to use. However, some researchers argue that the term vapor, which is used for e-cigarettes emissions, is inaccurate.

For most people, vapors are associated with a harmless cloud of water, but this is far from being the case. Public health officials insist that aerosols are a more accurate description since the emissions contain a selection of harmful chemicals that can persist in the air and settle on surfaces.

Names have an impact

While the change may seem unnecessary at first sight, a new study has revealed that it could have a major impact on the way in which individuals gauge risks associated with vapes. A survey among 791 college students revealed that vapor is often associated with lower health risks, even for secondary exposure.

However, when the researchers used terms like aerosols or chemicals, the rate of descriptions which classified vape emissions as a harmful or very dangerous rose by up to 100%. The same individuals were also more likely to support a full tobacco-free policy for the university campus.

Popular but risky

A report published by the CDC in 2017 notes that more than 50% of middle and high school students have been exposed to secondhand vape emissions in indoor and outdoor places that are public, worrying researchers.

While it can be argued that the clouds released by vapes contain a lower amount of toxicants, substances like nicotine, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds can pose a health risk for many people. Terms like vapor downplay the potential health risks of secondhand exposure and facilitate the popularity of vapes among users, especially since a large segment do not perceive themselves as smokers.


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