Asthma UK community forum
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Vaping

I know Minushaben has already raised this, but just now I am thinking that if there are more posts expressing concerns then it may help to raise the profile.

Just like Minushaben I am concerned. I don’t know if I react on vapes, but I certainly react on cigarette smoke, theatrical smoke and burning incense. However, seeing those clouds that vaping produce alarm me. I really wouldn’t want to be on a bus full of it - and would the driver be able to see where he/she is going?

I would be interested to hear how many amongst us do react? And do I need to put myself in the way of it just to find out if I do? I hate the thought of doing that.

I certainly intend to write to my MP about it as vaping being allowed would drive me off public transport and back to my car, and that is not good.

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I don't know if I react, I'm that moaning Minnie who coughs and wafts in an overexaggerated manner when anyone blows cigarette smoke or vaping mist in my direction!! 😬

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I get alarmed by cigarette smoke, but at least now, when I am quite well, I seem to manage it well at least outside. I have just been to Hungary, and there, too, it seems not allowed indoors (though the odd few broke rules), and I was OK, though I always notice it. I also get alarmed by the vape vapours.

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I have just found this os Asthma UK website, under smoking:

ARE E-CIGARETTES SAFER THAN CIGARETTES FOR PEOPLE WITH ASTHMA?

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that release doses of vaporised nicotine for the user to inhale.

A recent review of the evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco over the short-term, both for those who smoke them, and those who are around people who smoke them, but very little research has been done so far looking at the effects on non-smokers with asthma.

There's also some evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes may help some people reduce the amount that they smoke.

E-cigarettes are not completely risk-free. Asthma UK advises that people with asthma avoid inhaling anything into their lungs which may be harmful, as it could make their asthma worse - especially since there aren't many rules about what additives can be used to flavour the vapour. If you do vape, or use e-cigarettes, we recommend not using flavourings to lessen the risk of an allergic reaction.

We don't know their long-term effects on people both with and without asthma and we don't believe they should be available to children because the risks are still unknown.

This is an issue where more evidence is emerging all the time. Until we know more, it is up to each person with asthma to decide whether they are comfortable with the unknown long-term risks of e-cigarettes in contrast to the well-known health risks of smoking tobacco products.

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Thanks for looking that up - I think on the whole that's a completely reasonable position. We know it's better than smoking, want to encourage people to stop smoking, but the rights of people with lung problems (be they caused by smoking or not) remain a factor.

I think the key part is this: "Asthma UK advises that people with asthma avoid inhaling anything into their lungs which may be harmful, as it could make their asthma worse" & that would seem to be an obvious lobbying position against any attempts to bring vaping into enclosed public spaces.

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Haha - I'm a bit like that as well, but I've been affected badly enough times to know that something in it is a trigger. I dread to imagine what life would be like if there were several people puffing the stuff everywhere I went.

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I don't think I react, at least not on the street in the same way as I do to cigarette smoke.

However, I react to many similar things - like you Wheezycat, theatrical smoke and incense also get me, as do many scented and aerosol products. I wouldn't be surprised if I did react if I had to sit on a bus or train filled with vapour for any length of time. My lungs have become much more twitchy than they used to be and they're entirely capable of deciding that they don't like something that is closely related to their existing dislikes!

I also know that a lot of asthmatics do have issues with vaping and I'd therefore be very much opposed to this being allowed on public transport or at work. I agree that vaping is better than smoking and it does seem to help people quit which is good, but I really don't see why that means it should be available everywhere in places that other people can't realistically escape if they do react.

A lot of the stuff I have read says that though it probably is better than cigarettes, we don't know the long term effects and it does contain chemicals known to be harmful (eg formaldehyde and acralein, whcih is a toxic compound that has been implicated in the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer - admittedly, in much much lower levels (I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking the level doesn't matter, but you may get higher exposure if you regularly sit in clouds of vape).

I'd be interested to know if Asthma UK has a position on this and plans to say anything to PHE. it really bothers me that absence of evidence that vaping is harmful is being equated with 'it's fine...well anyway smoking kills and this doesn't seem to but we don't really know.'

Couple of scientific articles for anyone interested - just a trawl on Pubmed, not the easiest reading sory:

Emissions from Electronic Cigarettes: Assessing Vapers' Intake of Toxic Compounds, Secondhand Exposures, and the Associated Health Impacts

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/287...

E-smoking: Emerging public health problem? (looks at effects on airways specifically)

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/284...

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Yes, I have also read a couple of articles that at the very least question whether it is all OK, but it is far from clear. But as you say, whether some people cope or not, it is still more chemicals in the air.

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I found this when I was trying to work out which new mattress would off-gas least and which brands of paint were low-VOC - paint and my lungs don't get along! I kept finding breezy assurances that no one is really harmed by VOCs but maybe don't use this paint in your baby's room.

I am aware that infants are susceptible to things that adults aren't, but still think they were a bit too blase about the risks in general in a place you sleep. And pretty much no source gave more than a line to recognising that some people - like us - may be more sensitive and there may be significant health risks in that case. I feel that could at least be acknowledged even if it can't always be solved.

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Certainly I now avoid any paints other than low VOC ones (plenty of them in B&Q). I react on oil based paints, possibly not after the VOCs have VOC-d off! But certainly while they are being applied. It happened where I work. Thankfully the admin staff were lovely and helped me get a space to work as far away from it as was possible. It helped.

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I wasn't previously concerned about 'offgassing' after things are dried but now wonder with these twitchy lungs. We went for Dulux water-based which I found I still react to when fresh but not as much or as quickly.

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I think you are considerably more sensitive than I am. I still find it a drag. But, so far, low VOCs have seemed fine.

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Glad you have found a solution! I think my lungs have antisocial personality disorder. There may be some logic to their reactions but it's hard to identify so far (eg I am grateful for not reacting to vaping but really it makes no sense based on my other triggers. Also, 'the weather is one degree warmer let's have a tantrum' vs 'pungent nail varnish remover, we're fine with that'.)

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It is ‘interesting’ isn’t it! Until two years ago I would not notice things like perfume and all scents and smells, and now I respond to this and that. It also seems to vary depending how overall well I am. Well, that stands to reason I suppose. But though I have rapidly learned about things I find unpleasant to actually reacting on, it often seems pretty random. I can walk into a room and react on .....well, something, not sure what. A year ago we spent a few days going round old Swedish buildings, all wooden, and generally it was fine, but then one would suddenly trigger something. Why was one room next to another different? The buildings all looked the same. And so on. Also I sometimes only feel uncomfortable, but sometimes worse, randomly. It seems important to be alert at all times.

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One of the few advantages having asthma ever brought me is that I get out of decorating. It was fairly obvious as a child that I couldn't tolerate paint, so I'd get packed off to relatives if they were decorating. Throughout adulthood I just head to the pub or the football while my wife does it :D

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I used to have no problems at all with it, it is only in the last couple or so years. How things can change!

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Yes that's true - although I've always had problems with perfumes, aerosols, paints (along with my football addiction I sometimes wonder what my wife ever saw in me really), the last few years have seen me develop issues with Aspergillus spores, which means I have to be careful doing gardening, can't really go swimming, etc.

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I am sorry to hear.

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Just the smell of smoke makes my lungs cringe. I use the bus to travel to the hospital and the thought of having to breathe in vape smoke fills me with horror. I just could not do it.

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Yes, me, too!

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I used to smoke like a trooper, but I finally gave up when I had terrible flu and could barely breathe air, let alone inhale cigarette smoke.

But I still had cravings to “do” smoking, and the vaping inhaler seemed a good alternative; but then I found my newly twitchy airways didn’t like the vapour either. I was on no-nicotine, so it wasn’t that, but I used a flavouring liquid in the inhaler. It made me cough and worsened my breathing. So I had to stop that as well.

Obviously we dont really know what chemicals are bing inhaled and their effects on the person vaping, and we don’t know what proportion of chemicals are being wafted around in the vaping plume, said to be more like water vapour than smoke.

And no doubt there are many variations between those who can vape unharmed, and those who react badly to the vapour in the air. Respect for others should prevail - causing others to suffer should not overrule the urge to satisfy the desires of the minority.

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Provided there are spaces and places, just not enclosed ones - even if my own overall preference would be for no vaping. Or smoking. I can see the vaping argument for people who are struggling to quit, but for guidelines and laws not to consider others at all? That is weird!

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I myself am faced with questions, I have been advised to start vapouring with CBD oil for my esinophilliac Asthma, I have never smoked before and I find the idea of doing this a bit daunting, I am assured that by vaping it will improve my Asthma & my life, but I don’t know what to do, I have chronic pain and have been told that using CBD oil will help to releave the pain, I must admit I am in a quandary, I understand where you are coming from with regard to the steam coming from the Vaporizer, it really does put you off

Regards Christine

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Hi Christine

I guess the difference is that if you're being advised to do this for medical reasons, you are far more in control of when & where you do it. You can find your own private space rather than simply feeling a sense of entitlement that you can happily blow the vape into other people's faces.

In terms of your quandary - is it your GP that has given you the advice or another health professional? If you're worried about putting something into your lungs, maybe get some other opinions before starting?

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Hi Minushaben, thank you for your reply yes you are right I got the suggestion from another source not my Doctor, so yes I think I need to think and get more advice first, really it does seem a bad idea, especially seeing has I have never smoked before.

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I totally agree with Minushabens, your situation is very different. My concern is about those who would vape away, say, on public transport, with no concern for others. That doesn’t even remotely sound like you.

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Know what's safer than cigarette smoke or vaping? Clean air.

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I cannot believe this position by PHE. I thought there was an research the other week which said they weren't safe. I don't think they should be allowed in public places same as smoking. I have never promoted them as part of my practice. I hope they don't come onto nurse prescribers formulary because i won't be prescribing them for teenagers. Lots of young people not smoked smoking e cigarettes. Socially acceptable smoking. I don't think they are safe for asthmatics to be breathing in same with any smoke, perfumes, sprays should all be banned. I think asthma uk should be taking a position on this. Also i think a government petition is in order to get this discussed in parliament on behalf of people with asthma. Everyone should be entitled to fresh air. End of rant 😂

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If it's a non smoking bus then usually the sign on the windows says no vaping. If not you have the right to ask them not to vap as your in an enclosed space.

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E cigs got me off tabacco cigs which are far worse

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Hi, I've just joined this forum. I'm also concerned about the report on vaping. I wrote to my MP earlier today.

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