Posts filed under nicotine

On the Safety of Vaping

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The discussion of vaping in public spaces at a local Atlanta convention came up a couple of days ago.  As anyone could predict, much muppet-flailing ensued on both sides with more mis-informed and un-informed opinions than you routinely see on CSPAN when discussing anything scientific than how to take a bribe.   (and we all know that politicians are born knowing how to do that..that’s why they’re politicians)

First, on the toxins released by ejuice on inhalation (ie…the maximum exposure possible. Exhaled vapor is going to be significantly less than this by fact that your lungs absorb a majority of it).

From the Journal of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology we have a study entitled: Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air


The takeaway from that study is that the levels of HPHCs in the aerosol (ie.. “vapor”) were consistent with the air blanks (ie.. ambient air in the room) at <2 micrograms / puff.

Mainstream cigarettes were in the level of 3,000 micrograms/puff.

Table 5 is the one you want to look at:

I don’t care about cigarettes as this is about vaping so I’m only going to give those numbers:

The range of e-cigs tested came up at 1.7micrograms/puff (on average, range is 1.5 to 2.0).
Air comes up at 1.6 micrograms/puff.

Four of the classes of HPHCs being tested for were lower than was reliably measurable, but again, consistent with *air*.

Remember, this is the *inhaled* vapor, not exhaled.  The lungs hold onto much of the particulates and most of the chemicals.

(addendum using data from the study talked about below)

Normal breathing (~ 20 breaths/ minute) in a room with a low, but measurable amount of cigarette smoke yields an intake of 1 microgram of nicotine every THREE HOURS of breathing..  The study above shows the levels of nicotine in vapor from ecigs or ejuice to be 15% of that of cigarettes.   Using those numbers, you’d need to be in a room for 21 hours or so to get the same dose, or the amount of ‘vapor’ in the air would need to be 7 times as high.


The topic of nicotine exposure from exhaled vapor (I refuse to call it ‘smoke’ or especially ‘second hand smoke’) comes up a lot too.

From the study: Nicotine yields to the aerosol were approximately 30 μg/puff or less for the e-cigarette samples and were 85% lower than the approximately 200 μg/puff from the conventional cigarettes tested.

So, whereas there is a measurable amount of nicotine in vapor, it’s miniscule compared to cigarettes.


While we’re talking about nicotine exposure, let’s look at other things that expose us to nicotine.

This time, let’s look to the New England Journal of Medicine and a study called “The Nicotine Content of Common Vegetables

(and no, I don’t mean your dear uncle Fred who lives in his mother’s basement at 45 years old surfing /b/chan 20 hours a day)

Go read the study if you’re inclined:

But here’s the gist.   Certain human foods, especially the plants in the Solanaceae family (potatos, tomatoes, eggplant, etc..) contain  nicotine in measurable quantities high enough to result in nicotine byproducts to be expressed in urine (ie.. cotinine).

I’ll let you look at the study, but you’d have to eat 140g of potatoes to get the same nicotine as breathing normally for 3 hours in a room with a low amount of cigarette smoke.

Normal breathing in those conditions gives you 1 microgram of nicotine in 3 hours.

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May 2024