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Waterpipes and e-cigarettes: Impact of alternative smoking techniques on indoor air quality and health

Fromme, Hermann, Schober, Wolfgang
Atmospheric environment 2015 v.106 pp. 429-441
adverse effects, air quality, asthma, atmospheric chemistry, breathing, carbon monoxide, carcinogens, cigarettes, health promotion, nicotine, people, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, respiratory system, risk, smoke, smoking (habit), social behavior, toxicity, vapors, volatile organic compounds
Waterpipe (WP) smoking is growing as an alternative to cigarette smoking, especially in younger age groups. E-cigarette use has also increased in recent years. A majority of smokers mistakenly believe that WP smoking is a social entertainment practice that leads to more social behavior and relaxation and that this type of smoking is safe or less harmful and less addictive than cigarette smoking. In reality, WP smokers are exposed to hundreds of toxic substances that include known carcinogens. High exposures to carbon monoxide and nicotine are major health threats. Persons exposed to secondhand WP smoke are also at risk. There is growing evidence that WP smoke causes adverse effects on the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and is responsible for cancer.E-cigarettes are marketed as a smokeless and safe way to inhale nicotine without being exposed to the many toxic components of tobacco cigarettes, and as an aid to smoking cessation. In fact, consumers (vapers) and secondhand vapers can be exposed to substantial amounts of VOC, PAH or other potentially harmful substances. Of major health concern is the inhalation of fine and ultrafine particles formed from supersaturated 1,2-propanediol vapor. Such particles can be deposited in the deeper parts of the lung and may harm the respiratory system or increase the risk of acquiring asthma. More research on the safety of e-cigarettes needs to be conducted to ensure a high level of public health protection in the long-term.