the dangers ofSmoking cigarettes around babiesand children (or anyone else) has been documented for a long time, but what about vaping around babies and children? Is it less harmful? Further?
Vaping is relatively new, so there are still a number of safety features, but experts generally agree: Vaping around children is not safe.
"Using e-cigarettes [vaping] is not safe around children and babies," says Dr. Maria Rahmandar, medical director of the Substance Use and Prevention Program at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. "Although e-cigarettes have only been around for a few years and we are still learning about their health effects, we do know that they contain nicotine andother harmful ingredients. Children can not only accidentally ingest liquid from e-cigarettes, but the aerosol exhaled into the environment can be inhaled by children around them, and can settle on dust and surfaces.
Whether you have questions about secondhand vaping or other safety concerns, here's everything you need to know about vaping with babies and kids.
What is vaping?
When someone "smokes" from an electronic cigarette (or a "vape" or "vape pen"), that's what it meansvapear. E-cigarettes contain mostly nicotine (which is what we're talking about in this article) or cannabis, along with flavorings and other substances.
of many wayselectronic smoking devices(ESD), which are refillable or pre-filled with liquid ("vape juice"), mimic smoking a traditional cigarette. However, instead of directly inhaling the burned tobacco, withvapeara person breathes in the heated liquid that has turned into vapor.
However, don't be fooled by the word "steam". HeCenters for Disease Control(CDC) notes that the aerosol that e-cigarette users inhale and exhale "may contain harmful and potentially harmful substances." These include:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
- Flavors like diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung diseases.
- Volatile organic compounds.
- Cancer-causing chemicals.
- heavy metals.
Is it safe to vape around babies and children?
"The simple answer is 'no,'" says Dr. Scott Frank, an associate professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. “Spent aerosols, incorrectly referred to by the industry as 'vapor,' from ESDs don't just emit 'harmless water vapor.' ESDs contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and small amounts of toxins known to cause cancer."
While "there is no question that there is a chance of damage," says Frank, the degree of damage is "uncertain" given how short the vape has been.
"It took decades to discover the full extent of the harm from smoking, and third-hand smoking even longer," he says. “Millions of people have been harmed because we were not sure about the harm of smoking to non-smokers, especially children. It would not be advisable to repeat that mistake with used aerosols”.
Does vaping cause secondhand smoke?
"Electronic cigarettes produce an aerosol full of chemicals," explains Rahmandar. “Some of that aerosol is exhaled into the environment that can be inhaled by people around you – used aerosol. This aerosol can also settle on dust and surrounding surfaces, which can lead to extraneous exposure.”
Is it safer to vape than to smoke cigarettes around a baby or child?
dr. Christina Johns, pediatric emergency physician and senior medical advisorafternoon child care, notes that "there are no definitive data on the subject because no investigator would conduct a study that willfully put children at risk." However, he adds: "Second-hand nicotine can be harmful to a child's health."
In other words, both are not a good idea. "While traditional cigarettes contain tar and oxidizing gases, which e-cigarettes don't, most contain other harmful chemicals, so both can be harmful," says Johns.
Frank says it more clearly. "Vaping is harmful to babies and children, so it doesn't really matter what it is.furtherharmful: smoking or vaping,” he says. "Would we ask if we should feed our children a spoonful or two of poison?"
Is secondhand smoke harmful to babies and children?
Frank adds that while "tobacco smoke is more harmful than vaping aerosols," there are properties of aerosols that "raise big red flags," especially when children are around.
"While tobacco smoke rises after release, the vapor from e-cigarettes is heavier than air and sinks to the ground," he explains. “Because of this, used aerosols are more likely to be present on surfaces like floors and furniture. This is not good for children and pets that are lower to the ground and crawl, roll and play on surfaces where the vapor settles.”
Is it harmful to vape at home or in the car?
"Indoor vaping is a bad idea with kids," says Frank. "This is especially true for babies. Think about how thin and delicate a baby's skin is and how likely they are to ingest or become irritated by the components of the spray."
And remember, this applies regardless of whether children are present or not. Says Rahamandar, "Avoid using e-cigarettes in the home, car, and other areas with children, even when they're not there, as the spray and chemicals can linger in those areas."
Can you vape and carry a baby?
According to Johns, hands should always be washed after vaping and before contact with children. "Residue can be left on the hands that can react with the environment and cause contaminants, and nicotine is left behind as well," she says. "All of this can be harmful to children."
When you vape, Rahmandar notes, you can reduce a baby's exposure by "using e-cigarettes outside while wearing a coat, then removing the coat before going inside and washing your hands immediately."
Vaping Around Babies and Children: Other Safety Concerns
In addition to secondhand and thirdhand smoke, there are several concerns about parents and caregivers vaping around children. They include:
nicotine poisoning"One of the dangers of vaping with kids is the risk of nicotine poisoning from improper disposal of used nicotine cartridges," says Frank. "Liquid nicotine can be deadlyor cause long-term harm to children. This damage can occur if the liquid is swallowed, but also if it is spilled on the skin of a young child. Obtained Toxicology Centersthousands of callseach year on young children exposed to vaping-related products. Because it's such a small amount, people may not realize the deadly poison they have in their home when they have liquid nicotine."
sensitivities. "Many people have odor sensitivities, allergies, and/or side effects from the spray," says Frank. “Common side effects include headaches and nausea, but [the spray] can also cause shortness of breath and illness. Because we cannot predict who might have these sensitivities, caution is advised."
"Second Hand News"."When parents vape in front of or near their kids, they're essentially saying it's okay to do so, even though they probably know that nicotine is highly addictive, especially when you start in your teens," says Frank. “There is no question that the children of smokers are more likely to become smokers or vapers. Parents generously share almost everything in their lives with their children. But sharing the addiction is something to be avoided at all costs.”
How to have the "vape talk" with babysitters, babysitters, or other caregivers
According to Michelle LaRowe Conover, lead educator forGlobal Nanny-Training, DieLegal questions you can askA potential employee may vary from state to state. "But," she adds, "parents need to set their workplace expectations, including that their home be a first-, second-, and third-hand smoke-free environment, when interviewing potential childcare providers, and address that expectation on their own." account".written employment contract.“
"To ensure that there is no confusion about parents' desire to raise their children in an environment free from the dangers of smoking, communication about expectations in the workplace must be direct and clear, and must require confirmation. from the supplier that the expectations have been verified and accepted".
Where to find help
“Giving up nicotine can be very difficult,” admits Rahamandar. However, if he's interested in quitting, he recommends contacting his doctor to discuss quitting and get support.
"In addition, people can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to connect to the state quitline, which can put them in touch with trainers and help them get medicine," says Rahmandar, adding that "theCenters for Disease Control and Preventionit can also be a resource.”