Vaping, Second Hand Smoke, and Kids

A study led by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital found that parents who smoke often try to keep second hand smoke away from their kids — but they don’t have the same attitude toward vaping. Parents in the study were more likely to allow e-cigarette use in their home or car, even if they had a strict no-smoke policy around their kids.

Is vaping around kids safe?

Vaping is often seen as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, or as a way to stop smoking. The FDA has yet to agree with these claims. E-cigarettes don’t produce smoke, but they do send an aerosol mist into the air. The vapor delivers tiny particles of nicotine, lead, and potentially carcinogenic chemicals to the people in the room.

It’s not quite second-hand smoke, but it can lead to asthma flare-ups, eye and throat irritation, and even difficulty breathing. Studies have found that second-hand exposure to vaping can raise nicotine levels in the bloodstream to rates similar to the levels found with second-hand smoke.

Many of the e-cigarette chemicals that end up in the air your babies breathe are known to be toxic. But there is little long-term research on the effects of inhaling aluminum or glycerine. It may not be as bad as second-hand smoke, but there is no clear evidence that it’s harmless.

The example you set

Vaping in your car or home can have health consequences for your kids. They are also more likely to vape or smoke if they see you vaping or smoking. Smoking is the top preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Smoking is not as common as it used to be in the United States, but vaping is on the rise, especially among young people. Kids generally believe that vaping is safe. Parents who believe that vaping around their kids is safe are likely to reinforce that mistaken belief.

Your best bet

The Massachusetts study found that most of the parents surveyed were careful to avoid smoking around their kids. They concluded that the parents were concerned about their children’s health.

The parents just didn’t realize that vaping around other people can have negative effects.

Now that you know, plan to make your home and car non-smoking and non-vaping spaces. If you have questions, ask your pediatrician.

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