Does secondary Vaping Cigarettes giv... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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Does secondary Vaping Cigarettes give you breathing problems?


I for one have dreadful immediate bad response to anyone vaping near me. The smoke causes me have a irritable cough in an asthmatic sort of a way and then it makes my chest feel tight. I have COPD and have to exercise to remove the phlegm every day. After being exposed to vap cigs I cannot remove the phlegm, in two cases where I could not escape the vaps or stop the person from smoking in the car I ended up with a chest infection. I really think these vaping cigarettes are harmful to the people smoking them and course the secondary smoker .

Does anyone else have a problem like this, surely I can`t be the only one.

l have just seen a report on Yahoo news which calls for relaxed rules on vaping so people can use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. While I agree that anything proven to help people give up smoking is to be applauded I am most concerned that they talk of relaxing rules such as smoking vaps in public places transport etc.

There are other reports saying that the chemicals will cause damage to the lungs and so lets hope they can come to a sensible decision on this.

60 Replies

Hi, they bother me too. Why, does anyone think inhaling a chemical is harmless??? I agree that they’re a great aid but the risks and long term health risks to smokers and secondary ‘users’ are still unknown and to reduce ban in public places gives them legitimacy and this is dangerous.

Smoking was banned to safeguard non smokers, this should still be adhered to with vaping AND a ciggie ends, vaping cigs DON’T!

Hi, I am glad someone feels the same. I wonder if there is some organisation that could help put our side to the government. Here is the article that I saw.

Bkin in reply to Riverfrog

BLF have already put forward to the government about cigarette smoke, it is known about passive smoking and 3rd hand smoke. In fact I believe smoke of any kind is harmful to the lungs.

Dragonmum in reply to Bkin

There is no smoke in an e-cigarette, one simply cannot "smoke" them.

Bkin in reply to Dragonmum

Vapours are irritants the same as 'any smoke' for me, but hey if your throat or lungs are happy to take it all in that's up to you.

Vaping doesn't bother me at all. Some perfumes, cleaning stuff and bonfires certainly do. I don't like the vapes that blow out huge clouds


Yes I’m really worried about the proposal to allow vaping in public places. Vapes have exactly the same terrible effect on me as cigarette smoke. The trouble with the people who put forward these proposals is that they only think of the people who are doing the smoking or vaping and not of those who are extremely vulnerable to the effects of being forced to breathe in the detritus from either.


Me too - they are so often heavily perfumed. It is hard enough travelling on public transport without being worried about vaping being allowed on buses and trains etc.

2greys in reply to Pentreath

Another "well said" let's face it, they would probably be able to get off and walk whereas a lot of us cannot walk any distance (although luckily I still can) even luckier where I live, the bus companies have banned vaping on them as well.


I had breathing issues with strawberry flavour e-cig. Total made me gasp.


What I fail to understand, lung conditions are caused by inhalation of smoke, toxic fumes or foreign matter. Why would any sane person advocate the use of any device that requires inhalation. Is there any long term scientific studies that the inhalation of a chemical mixture is 100% without risk either short term or long term. The majority of chemicals in there raw state have a potential to cause harm, so what proof have they that a combination of 50 separate chemicals that are used to make strawberry flavouring will not put peoples Heath at risk long term, and what about the effect on non vapers and people who already have lung condition as a result of inhalation.

It’s seems the next generation will have wait 20/30 years for ther final conclusion.

It affects me as well, making me cough, which I don't normally suffer from anymore. Even if it did not affect me, I would rather not breathe it in, as an ex nicotine addict I have no wish to be addicted again just because people next to me wish to feed their own habits.


You are correct the same strawberry flavouring is used in smoothies, and possibly many other drinks. There as been no known lung condition caused by ingestion, so you are quiet safe with your consumption of strawberry yogurt.

Well when exactly did you hear of anyone inhaling strawberry yoghurt (if you seriously want to defend your sarcasm)?

Personally since you make this point, I wouldn't eat anything but natural unsweetened yoghurt but unless you go organic the majority of our food is riddled with chemicals, even small amounts are allowed in some organic food. And anyway not everyone has the money to go organic.

Could you be the ignorant one in this discussion? Many here including myself have justifiably complained about chemicals, e.g. in cleaning products which are recognised to be damaging to even healthy lungs.

I don't smoke or vape (gave up the cigs in '86) but my daughter does. I worry about her and for myself when she visits as to whether inhaling the fumes is dangerous - or not. The jury seems to be out on whether vaping is dangerous - there are contradictory reports most days - so presumably the same applies to 'secondary vaping'. This is a perfectly valid discussion for this forum.


Well said 02Trees.


Lovely. I make something similar to that and add granola to it.

When I was smoking the smoke never bothered me. But my son was vaping blackcurrant flavoured liquid and caused me to cough more or less immediately. So I think it was more to do with the flavouring than the vaping. As my other son only vapes tobacco flavour. And that did not affect me. So it might be the smell that's causing the problem. For me it is. Lots of smells set me off coughing these days.

There have been numerous official tests carried out by reputable bodies who say that vaping is a lot less dangerous than smoking cigarettes. I have no reason to doubt this and if it helps smokers give up (which it is) that has to be a good thing.

The contents of the vape are looked at and they don't have any dangerous chemicals in them like cigarettes such as formaldahyde and numerous others. These are not in the vapes - ergo they are a lot safer.

I don't agree with these being allowed in public places as I know it affects some people including myself. I doubt whether this will happen though so try not to meet trouble half way folks. x

stone-UK in reply to hypercat54


A Harvard research. Found three chemical known to be lung irritant.


Harvard researchers found diacetyl in 39 of 51 samples tested, including menthol and other flavours not typically associated with the creamy, butter flavour for which diacetyl is known. The evaluation included all the flavours from three large cigarette companies, as well as selections from e-cigarette distributors and e-liquids in disposable cartridges.

The study also noted that two other flavouring chemicals — 2,3-pentanedione and acetoin — were prevalent in the samples. Studies have found 2,3-pentanedione, the chemical cousin of diacetyl, to be equally toxic when inhaled.

The chemicals destroy the lungs’ tiniest airways, leading to scar tissue buildup that blocks airflow. It can result in a permanent, sometimes fatal, lung condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans, perhaps best known for its links to injuries and deaths in microwave popcorn workers.

“Due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans and other severe respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavoured e-cigarettes,” said the authors of the study, published this week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Full article

hypercat54 in reply to stone-UK

Fine. Vaping is as bad for you as smoking so it should be banned.

stone-UK in reply to hypercat54


Not really, the nicotine based vapes are classed as medicine and regulated. The thousands of flavoured including the dubious products from China are unregulated as to quality and it not wiser to sort out the bad from good sooner than later.

Your so right! Also, I read that with tobacco sales on the decline, the tobacco companies are buying into the vaping market. They got away with cigarettes\cancer for fifty years, so whats the betting that when their media gets hold of vaping it will turn out to be the worlds eighth wonder, and then all the negative reports will get buried under an avalanche of tobacco sponsored tests\reviews etc etc. Also read COPD is the third biggest killer in America. We are most likely in the same situation, so anything that stops any kind of smoking has my vote. Having started smoking aged eight (my Gran bought me packets of 5 Woodbines for digging her garden) I finally gave up smoking cigarettes, aged 74, started vaping, and , do you know, developed cancer 18 months later, survived it and stopped smoking 2 minutes after being diagnosed. If I can give up after getting on for 70 years, then anyone can. Now talk of vaping on the NHS. Next will be free booze for alcoholics.

Apparently why some find it more difficult than others to give up isn't related to how long or how much you smoked, but rather due to how many nicotine receptors you have in your brain which is genetic. Obviously the more you have the more withdrawal symptoms you will have. x

Maybe. All I know when I was told, "you have cancer" it frightened me enough to stop there and then. Regardless of how many receptors you have, if you want to live, you give up. If you don't, then sorry, you don't deserve any sympathy if you end up with the dreaded "c". Even now, I often reach for a non existent cigarette, and, God, its hard not to say "Damn it" and head for the Newsagents! It happens everyday. I want a packet of "fags" and a box of matches in my box cos it wont matter a damn then. When you think about it, our NHS is overwhelmed by druggies, alcoholics and smokers. If it was not, the NHS would be readily available for the really deserving.

I am pleased you managed to pack it in when told you had cancer. I guess it is a lot easier when there is a direct threat to your life. There wasn't to mine though when I packed it in so didn't have this motivator. No one is arguing about the addictiveness of smoking.

It is not a guess about the receptors in your brain but a fact which is why some find it easier to give up than others. We have all had someone saying to us 'Give it up it's easy'. Well the last one who said that to me nearly got decked! I did finally manage to give up a year ago thankfully but still get bad cravings. x

Glad for you. It's great when you manage to give up. Only downside is the constant battle to not "just one won't hurt." If it is down to receptors then I really do feel for the ones who have more than their share. Really must be murder knowing it will always be a battle to stop on the wagon. Life sure isn't very fair.

You can always make yourself better in lots of things, but when your genetics are against you, it must be twice as hard. The amount of money spent on silly projects such as finding a planet like ours is horrendous, and would be better spent on world wide health. Just think, it could take a thousand years to get there, (if they ever find it). What a waste. Anyway they might just send us all the way back, if it just happens to be inhabited.


I have to cross the road if I see smoke from vaping it makes me cough a lot if I am anywhere near it I know some people with COPD vape My gp said u should fill your lungs with fresh air only Not diagnosed with anything yet but had a bad chest infection jan and coughed for months my fev1 was 69% in April got to have another test in Oct only symptoms I have now is coughing from any smoke and productive cough after exercise on no meds xxx

Hi, just to add I also have problems with cleaning products and perfume but the ones I can't get away from are wood burning stoves which are becoming more and more popular and in the summer barbeques. Along with traffic fumes I sometimes wonder if life is still worth living. Mags

Riverfrog in reply to 1947Mags

Mags, I have the same problems with all the things you mention and I agree it does get very difficult to avoid things. I am sorry to see you say you wonder if life is still worth living, yes of course it is we must strive to get clean air and stand up for ourselves, I know it is hard. Traffic fumes are particularly bad for me , I feel antisocial if I don`t want to walk with friends near heavy traffic through a town for example but we have to look after ourselves and do our best to find clean air to breath. I think that most people do understand.

Dilly2 in reply to 1947Mags

Hi Mags I agree with you. Love to sit outside in the shade with a book and then someone lights a barbecue grrr

I don't like to be near any one smoking or vaping outside or inside. Its awful when down wind outside when a huge cloud of sickly cinnamon flavour smoke wafts your way, I don't like to breathe any of the vapes. I would not go in a store or restaurant if vaping was permitted, surely we have the right to breath non smoke polluted air.

Gosh - I'd never have guessed that on my own.

Alot of younger people who have never smoked are now vaping because it is fashionable and it seems some then go onto smoking cigarettes, which seems a backward way of going. I do wonder if in years to come people who vape will have another form of lung disease as I dont think there has been enough time to evaluate what problems this will cause, but I for one do not want to inhale second hand smoke no matter where it has come from.

Spencerrd1952 in reply to Izb1

I totally agree. I worry for my grand kids. Fortunately their parents don't smoke or vape. So I feel they are very unlikely to either.

Why would you want to let youngsters think it's ok to use these things. Who knows the damage they could be doing? They are full oh chemicals. Don't we breath in enough of them anyway?

Ex smoker Rosie x

Went through this with my grandson it's not smoke it's a mist that falls on everything fabric and dries and the smell stays till its washed

I hate the smoke/mist from e-fags. I cough hard when it’s near. I’m no angel having been a smoker (60a day) until a heart attack made me aware of the damage done. It’s odd that the stream/smoke from e-fags make me cough and make my eyes sore. No vaping in confined spaces please

I suffer with chronic bronchitis and now asthma, according to 2 senior chest physicians and GPs caused by second hand smoke. After I had multiple unprovoked blood clots in the lungs the first time, (now suffering again, non provoked by DVT) we were sitting quietly in a bird hide, and suddenly I could not breathe, coughed, gasped for air. I heard laughing, turned and saw this idiot puffing away on her dummy. More coughing more laughing at my discomfort! Eventually her and her companions left laughing even louder. It was a wooden bird hide at the time and eventually burnt down by arsonists (or smokers as they always leave all their smoking rubbish in there after an evening out - they must use torches as there are no street lights there!). The smell from cigarettes and e-cigarettes do stop me breathing normally, and even had to resort to using my rescue inhaler in an enclosed bus station (all non smoking, but not adhered to even by stagecoach drivers), as someone decided to smoke or vape, 3 of us were affected at the time, so pretty close but could not see where from. Wrote to council, stagecoach, however nothing seems to have changed, hence I do not use buses unless I really have to. If these "dummies" can be used on buses, etc., then I seriously doubt if I will ever use the bus again or eat in a restaurant, all because of a minority who have addictions. I even saw a "dummy puffer" in Sainsburys, walking blowing clouds of stuff around through the food section, he looked so proud of himself, even though there is a sign saying it is illegal to smoke and vape in that store! Pity I did not challenge him and cause a scene, get him thrown out.

People around the world smoke either cigarettes or e-cigs or vaping or whatever. We are in no position to stop them smoking those things whether it is allowed in public or not. The anti smoking brigade have done their best and stopped smoking in all buildings apart from people in their homes, they have now provided smokers with an alternative to tobacco which obviously doesn't suit everyone, but then again the government are doing the necessary by banning it in most places. We sufferers will just have to put up with it for the time being and get on with our lives. I don't want to put up with taxes, but I have to, I don't want to die either, but sometime, we all have to. If it bothers you inhaling second hand vape smoke then get out of that area to fresh air if it can be called that. Or perhaps the government should just stop the purchase of cigarettes and e-cigs, I don't think so, they make too much money from it that's why they won't stop shops selling people their daily fix. If they were to stop selling cigarettes or the like, then watch the price of petrol go up to £4 a litre to make up for the loss in cigarette tax.

garibaldon in reply to BB4ALL

In theory it out logical to price cigarettes to a prohibitive price but this would drive an underground supply of tobacco laced with who knows what addictive substances. Leading to an even greater medical catastrophe than branded varieties

In theory it is locical

I have mild COPD, never smoked so my cause has been put down to industrial exposure plus my parents were both heavy smokers so I was exposed to 2nd hand cigarette smoke for years as a child.

Vaping certainly affects me as inhalation causes irritation and coughing, sometimes considerably so I have to avoid at all costs, however one thing I havnt seen mentioned which also must be given massive consideration when proposing relaxation of the smoking laws are the gadgets themselves, I had the misfortune to be close to one when it ignited for no reason causing severe damage as it was in a coat pocket at the time,not very pleasant either i can assure you.

Yes, it was suggested this week vaping in public places should be allowed. Vaping may

assist smokers stop but if it’s allowed in restaurants and pubs cafes theatres and cinemas I disagree these are all confined places and I object to breathing in second hand chemicals to say nothing of the psychological affect of possible extended lung damage people like is in this forum

I would not however object to there use in ares such as enclosed train station areas Airport terminals etc. Where large areas make it acccepable.

Riverfrog in reply to garibaldon

I think if they allow this in public places it will be just as though the smoking ban never took place. It is so nice to be able to eat in restaurants and travel without the smoke, I am sure this changed a lot of lives for the better, also it is not just people who suffer with lung problems it is doing harm to everyone. I just hope they do not go ahead with this idea of relaxing the law for public places or we will be back to square one.

I didn't stop smoking to breath in others people's chemicals. Wish I could apologise to the folk that breathed in MY smoke.😔

I suffer a bad reaction from vape steam. It also makes my skin feel dry if anyone around me is doing it. I am wary of e cig.s because of this. Obviously my lungs don't like it!

There is always a moron on any forum, mores the pity. The old adage, "think before you speak" still holds good. On second thoughts, why not have a re think and then just keep quite so the genuinely afflicted can continue to read helpful, sensible posts.

Well, it seems that on reading all of these posts there certainly is a problem with these vaps, if it causes so many of us on this forum to cough there have must be thousands more with the same problem, perhaps it is the flavours or the particular ingredients used, who knows? In the future they are going to discover that they are causing harm to the young generation, what a terrible shame. What I find odd is that I have never seen anything in the papers or online about how they cause some people problems for example to coughing and tightness of chest, so much so that we have to move away and keep avoided people who vap. How come no one is talking about this in the media? All you read is how it so much better than smoking, personally I doubt that.

I know of people who took it up to give up smoking but do not give up the vap!


I agree! They are talking about allowing people to vape in public places. I find the smell repulsive, and it makes me feel nauseous. Sometimes, depending what type it is it will make me cough, and I dont have any respiratory condition.

Whilst I am all for vaping to assist people in quitting smoking, it should be treated as a medication. We still dont no as yet what damage will be caused by the chemicals used. They should not be allowed in public places. People have accepted quite well now that smoking is not acceptable, so why should we relax laws for vaping? It is what it says it is, a vapour! Why should we all have to inhale it, and suffer, for the sake of those using it.

Riverfrog in reply to Lleech

Very well said, interesting it makes you cough and you don`t have a respiratory problem! lets hope the medical profession can give strong input to the government.

Anyone who speaks without thinking?

Peppy05 in reply to oldmurphyman

I agree

Answer to your question - YES!!

I don't know what is worse smoking or vaping .. One guy quite smoking over six years ago while he was still smoking his vapor.... It is a rough addition.... But they well end up with COPD to me it will advance it...From what I heard its not good... My friend told me a person rolled up her car window when she was smoking and she was offended thought the person was a asshole... I hear her cough sounds like mine she has COPD won't get tested.... Mine caused by allergy's... Plus raised around smokers... I didn't bother to say a word to her .... She'll l find out her husband has a morning cough she has been smoking for 44 years and she goes between the two... But smokers can be rude .. And soon as I smell it I cough ....

Well, nobody laughed


Yes it affects my chronic breathlessness quite badly and I have to move away from the smoke, but then again, anything but normal air does that to a lesser or greater degree. I started smoking when there was no health implication warnings and a non smoker was the odd man out and I quit a heavy smoking habit twenty years ago after gradually knackering my lungs for 45 years and am rather amazed to see young people smoking anything to-day given all the information and warnings of it's detrimental effective upon lungs and heart. Also I now realise how stupid I actually really looked dragging on a cigarette and I think that Vaping looks even more stupid and pointless. Giving up one stupid habit by starting another seems ridiculous to me, especially when I know people who do both, having acquired a Vaping habit trying to stop smoking.

On two of my previous quit smoking I decided to vape . Both times I developed bad asthma and asthma attacks . I think the long term effects of vaping are unknown a bit like smoking was 60 years ago . I don’t think it can do your lungs any good at all

My daughter, ironically a health professional, vapes. On the first occasion she vaped quite close to me in an enclosed room I had an immediate reaction and begged her to stop. She moved slightly further away & eventually opened the door a bit but I had the most awful chesty cough for weeks afterwards. She has done this again a couple of times (when I visit) and if I don't keep well out of her way it has the same effect. Soon after the first incident I got a (surprise) diagnosis of emphasema after having well-controlled asthma for years. What worries me is that she vapes on her children in the car: they complain but she treats both them and myself as if we're being melodramatic and silly. I cannot imagine why we should allow one noxious substance to replace another; the fact that secondary vaping only affects 33% or 50% of bystanders is no reason to allow it to blight their lives, after all not all bystanders could prove the same strong negative reaction to passive smoking. Vaping should not be seen as a harmless, even healthy, alternative - it's not!

Gosh Dartingbird, I am sorry that you have had a bad time of it with your daughter vaping. I do understand your reaction, it sounds very much like mine, twice in a car with it and each time giving me most unpleasant systems and ended up with chest infection . The person concerned still thinks I`m making a fuss and insists that it is not harmful. He has read that the government say it is so much better than cigarettes and he believes them but nor me. He still starts using this thing in front of me so I have no choice but to back away and leave the conversation. I feel for the children in her car, can you Persaud her somehow that this is not good for them.

I'll try but she seems inclined to do the opposite of anything I suggest, sadly.... I do so agree with you that vaping should be the subject of similar Government warnings to tobacco, though, Riverfrog. Perhaps if enough of us make our feelings really clear it will gradually become socially unacceptable...

The tobacco companies are responsible for the death of millions of people world-wide. The people in the third world are now going through what we went through in the early fifties and are dying in their thousands every day because of smoking nicotine They are now trying it on us again by convincing us that vapouring is safe.They will not give up and will try anything to be able to sell their product.We need genuine organisations who will support us in our struggle against the tobacco companies I know pollution is a huge problem in the west but at least we should be free of air pollution indoors and in public spaces.

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