Second hand.. ..vapor and electronic cigarettes

Hi dopers. I started a new job last month and I’m taking inbound sales calls all day from 8 to 4. There are about 200 people on the floor taking calls, and a number of them “smoke” electronic cigarettes.

A guy sitting across from me is hooked on these things and takes huge drags off his device then emits a cloud of vapor up into the air. When the cloud descends I smell its sickly sweet odor and can’t help but breathe it. It’s getting to me. It is irritating to my lungs and causes headache. I asked a few coworkers how they feel and none so far feel the effects as I do. Today I was flanked to the right by another e-cig smoker. Every time I got the warning odor I timed my breath to avoid inhaling what had just been exhaled as much as possible. Still, by noon I had a headache and notable irritated lungs.

For the record I’m a super healthy vegan; I consume (mostly) organic foods, exercise and meditate daily and have no unhealthy habits. I sleep well and my stress level is pretty low. I am cool with my coworkers and don’t dislike any of them. The only variable (that would cause a headache) is these cigs and they are getting to me.

It’s not like I’m looking for reasons to dislike electronic cigs or smokers. Quite the contrary - I am as non judgmental as possible and the only reason I’m venting here is to seek consensus on the second hand effect of these things. I MAY be more sensitive than average but at the same time I don’t see how the vapor can not contain appreciable amounts of toxins. How would a quick inhalation and exhalation both satisfy the craving of the smoker and at the same time absorb all the chemicals? I know my body and it’s feeling the effect of this vapor. I know it’s not psychosomatic but no searches so far have turned up complaints similar to mine…

Is anyone else experiencing sensitivity to this vapor?

I’ve been smoking an ecig for 8 months. Regardless of the actual toxicity, which I don’t think has been thoroughly studied yet, this is bothering you. You should ask your boss to make people smoke their ecigs outside. It’s not really different from having a policy preventing people from spraying perfume indoors, and that’s a common enough rule in large offices.

I used to work in a crowded [del]cubicle farm[/del]call center and I would never have dreamed of smoking my ecig indoors. They do have a slight smell, my boyfriend notices it if he happens to walk through the vapor cloud. And the first couple weeks I smoked it, it did leave my mouth and throat noticeably dry.

I’ve played around with the thing, and it is possible to make the vapor cloud very thin/nonexistent if you hold it in for several seconds before exhaling. So it stands to reason that *something *is being exhaled. Any claims that “it’s just water vapor” don’t hold… well, water. Even if it’s just small nicotine droplets suspended in *mostly *water, some people are allergic to nicotine.

I’m an ecig vaper as well, but if you have a problem, you have a problem. Doesn’t matter if it’s tuna casserole in the microwave or an ecig - if something in your work environment is making you ill, it’s perfectly cromulent to talk to your coworkers and boss about ways to mitigate that.

I can think of a couple of options you can bring to them, some of which will piss your coworkers off a lot and some only a little:

Put a fan in your cubicle blowing away from you, to disperse the vapor before it reaches you.

Ask the vapers to turn down the voltage on their batteries or use lower voltage batteries at work. This will cut down on the plume of vapor produced, perhaps bringing it to a tolerable level for you.

Ask that your cube be moved away from the vapers, preferably after you’ve done a little research to figure out which way the air currents move in your office so you’re not putting yourself in a worse spot.

Figure out if there is any flavor of ejuice that doesn’t bother you, and offer to buy a bottle of that if folks would use it at work instead of their regular stuff. It may be as easy as vegetable glycerin being okay, and propylene glycol not, or vice versa.

Require them to vape outside. This…will not go over well. This is a group of highly addicted people who are reveling in their suddenly returned freedom to feed their fit indoors. While it may get to the point where you have to ask it, I’d strongly suggest, in the interest of being a team player and all, that you try one or more of the other solutions first.

Now, all that being said, no, you don’t know for sure that this isn’t psychosomatic. There’s your whole lifetime of programming whereby clouds of stuff that looks like smoke is indeed smoke, and made you feel icky. It’s entirely possible that your lizard brain is still going, “eeek! Smoke!” even while your logical brain is aware it isn’t smoke. So yeah, it *could *be psychosomatic.

But again, I don’t think it really matters. I only bring it up because I think it’s your weakest argument, and it’s going to set you up for an officewide war of words. Bottom line isn’t whether it’s psychosomatic or not; psychosomatic illness are not “all in your head”, they’re genuine illness caused by your head. And psychosomatic or not, your concerns are valid and deserve respectful dialogue and compromise to accommodate them.

Cheap perfumes make me sneeze, and I’m sensitive to smelly smokers who have the scent lingering on their clothes all the time. That said, I’ve been around only one person who vapes and it doesn’t bother me at all. She builds her own (I’m thinking she makes them lower powered with workplace in mind), and uses a supplier who is just this woman in California who makes it herself using organic processes (whatever that means). The result is apparently more of an essential oil vapor that’s a “whole” scent, like oranges or vanilla, as opposed to whatever concoction has to be put together to make bubble gum or something.

Isn’t there also an unscented option? If the scented stuff bothered me in the workplace, I would start there and see if it helps. I would be as non-confrontational and solution-oriented as possible to make all of us comfortable. But definitely do it, because trying to tolerate it just builds up resentment that can come out in weird ways.

The carrier in e-cig ‘juice’ is either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine. The first is what is used in theatrical foggers I believe. I find both irritating if I inhale them in the sense that I will develop a cough for a couple of days afterwards - but that is with direct inhalation.

There may also be other ingredients such as flavorings but those should be fairly minute by comparison. Of course there is also nicotine but the amount per inhalation is going to be fractions of a milligram since the concentration is usually between 1mg to 3.5 mg of nicotine per milliliter of fluid and average e-cig I think only holds around 1ml. Don’t quote me on that though since there is a hugh variety in e-cigs and I’m sure many have a larger capacity.

The point is that you probably are getting some second hand nicotine, flavoring and carrier but I suspect that unless you are very sensitive to nicotine, the headache is from the tension that is building up over the course of the day. So you’re right, it’s probably not psychosomatic. You’re also right that you shouldn’t have to worry about even being subjected to trace amounts of nicotine or even the carriers.

That said however, if it puts your mind at ease, you probably shouldn’t worry either. The vapor itself probably isn’t harmful since as I mentioned above, the most common carrier, propylene glycol is used in theatrical foggers. As to the nicotine, I guess that depends on the extent to which it evaporates and dissipates into the atmosphere. I don’t really know about that. If the clouds of vapor are descending right on you and it looks like no one is going to do anything about this any time soon, you might ask your coworkers not to blow vapor in your direction. Failing that, an air purifier/ionizer or fan might be helpful. Just check the ratings on ionizers since some produce excess ozone.

There isn’t a lot of research that’s been done on secondhand exposure from e-cigarettes.

At a minimum, some people are thought to be sensitive to propylene glycol, and the OP may be one of them.

Given the irritating symptoms and our lack of knowledge as to possible harmful effects, it is entirely reasonable to require the co-workers not to use the product in enclosed spaces where others are exposed to secondhand vapors.

Beo.Thuck I live a similar lifestyle too and am vegan, sugar & GMO free, etc and am very sensitive to tobacco smoke after having been a smoker for nearly 30 years I cannot be around other smokers at all and get headaches and problems breathing immediately when around smoke and even third hand smoke.

I use cannabis as a medicine but vaporize it using a Vapor Brothers vaporizer and never smoke it and it does emit a vapor that has a smell even though the properties are pretty much harmless as we know from decades of research.

My first exposure to e-cigs was in a liquor store where a couple young guys came into my persona space and one of them was puffing on one. I asked him why he was doing that inside and he was clueless but the smell was identical to a cigarette burning for me. I honestly could not tell the difference and this poor kid was honestly puzzled out his mind and couldn’t believe I could even tell what he was doing just from the smell!

It was horrible and obnoxious and made me feel instantly sick so I completely understand your issues at work.

One thing that really concerns me is that this e-cig seems to be the tobacco industry’s ‘re-birth’. There is all this ‘it’s harmless’ propaganda going around and people are actually BUYING IT! And, why shouldn’t they? I mean the tobacco industry is so honest, right?! I mean every claim they have ever made has been so reliable and true, right?

So, now e-cigs have harmless second-hand vapor and everyone is supposed to believe that so now it will be allowed everywhere like cigarettes were through the 1970’s. The fact that people are using these in your open work space is a testament to that, what next hospitals and schools again?

The components of a cigarette are incredibly toxic and highly poisonous so even if it were put into a component that is vapor it cannot be harmless! I don’t know the science but I know my body and if my body feels that something is toxic, and especially similar to it cousin (burning tobacco) I will choose to listen to that over the minimal research conduct by BIG TOBACCO!

BTW someone mentioned being sensitive to ‘cheap perfumes’ and it is not just CHEAP it is COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS because one of the main preservatives used in perfumes and colognes are various neuro-toxins! Unfortunately, almost every breath we take is TOXIC these days due to so many pollutants everywhere and so many toxins we (man) have created for our convenience and vice. The best way to cleanse ourselves is by food and making healthy choices like the ones you have made Beo.Thuck.

If these e-cigs continue to have all this propaganda your employer may not care about your situation which is unfortunate but I hope you are able to find a way to cope or leave the situation.

Wishing you the best for sure!

I also get very bad headaches very quickly when someone is smoking an e-cigarette inside. I quit shopping today because another customer was puffing on an e-cigarette behind me (I could not see him until I turned around). My headache lasted another few hours after I left the store. I have gotten a headache immediately every time I have been around someone smoking an e-cigarette. The headaches are getting more severe. I wish there was an easy solution to the problem. I wrote today to say “yes, I also get headaches”.

we’re not alone. I just looked for information about Costco because earlier today I left Costco due to 2nd hand e-cigarette “smoke”. Here’s what I found.

"I would like to commend Costco for extending their no smoking policy to include E-cigarettes. While shoppint at Costco recently, I noticed a customer using an e-cigarette in the store He exhaled as he passed me in the aisle. I was shocked to find that I could smell and taste the vapor that I inhaled. All I could think was that there must be dissolved nicotine and possibly other chemicals in the vapor I just inhaled. Curious, I went up to the customer service desk and asked a Costco employee what their policy was on the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers inside the store. I was told they were unsure and that another customer complained a few minutes before I did. A Costco manager was called and informed the customer that he was disturbing others and would be asked to leave if he continued to use the device in the store.

Following this event, Costco broadened their no-smoking policy to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers inside their stores. Costco Wholesale Corporation is the second largest retailer in the United States, and the seventh largest retailer in the world. I applaud Costco’s decision to protect public health."

I am also vegan, 100% opganic (with trace inorganic particles when garry stabbed me with a pencil). Also GMO free because genetically modified mutants are killing, and never have let a chemical enter my skin or rub against it. And I’m anti toxic. And I don’t understand the science but it’s keeeeling me!

From your link: It’s statements like these that make me think these so called researchers are full of shit:

Geez, you think maybe they can name these “cancer causing substances”?

In my experience, the more you “know” your body, the more likely it is you’ll have mysterious reactions to things.

My thoughts exactly about this entire post. Just looking for something to blame for unexplained ailments.

I have friends that smoke these e-cigs and it does not bother me ( everybody is different ) I just know it is far better than inhaling that toxic tobacco ! I saw a results from a test showing it was mostly all water vapor.

I am a completely healthy 35yo. A much older friend on mine, and I go out with to eat every so ofter. He appreciates the company, and I do as well. Well he used to be a chain smoker, but needed a back surgery. The doctor would not do the back surgery unless he would quit smoking.

He quit smoking! He had the surgery. and that was a good thing!

Then e cigs became popular. He smokes them like crazy! WAY MORE than reqular cigarettes. He says that they are 100% safe and ALWAYS has one in his mouth. When one is out of “stuff.” He pulls another one out of his pocket and smokes on that. He is puffing on them like crazy at a restraunt and gets dirty looks from other customers there.

Riding in a car getting all of that second hand “smoke” stuff. The vents blow the smoke at my face and I can’t help but breath it. My eyes feel burning. My throat feels like I have strep throat. Also I get a weird sensation in my head from it, as well as intense headaches. The sensation is not a pulse, it is not like something crawling, it is like a wiggling movement. Very freaky. After I have been exposed to that stuff for several hours like just before writing this. It is very very freaky feeling in my head.

It started just above my Left ear. Now I feel that feeling in the front center and rear center too. Not all of the time.

A day after seeing this guy and being exposed for several hours. After we eat, then we go back to his apartment and talk for several hours (we used to work together like 12 years ago) friendship is all this is. Sitting in his apartment this guy is puffing on those things non stop! My throat really starts to burn and my eyes HURT. My head also aches!

Not that night at home when I go to bed, but the next night. I have a very restless night. I can’t sleep and I imagine it must be like what a smoker goes through when trying to quit. (I have never smoked anything ever) I can not sleep and I get very irritated at everything. It is like I am trying to give up an addiction to something that I never wanted to be exposed to!

These things are not safe by any means! :smack:

I think they need to be banned from being sold anywhere!:eek::smack:

Have you spoken to your coworker about this? Some e-cigs are scented in ways that could be unpleasant to some people to the extent of being painful (like if you have asthma and some perfumes make you have an attack), so it would be reasonable to ask what scent he was using and ask him to try a different one while at work. If he’s not a complete arsehole, and you ask nicely, he’ll experiment with his brand.

At least try that before assuming e-cigs = bad. The evidence is not on the side of bad.

Do you also experience odd muscle twitching, thumbs, abdomen, arms, thighs… odd muscle cramps especially in calves or feet?

Are zombies bothered by ecig vapor?

I just picked one of the more recent threads on e-cigs to throw this into the discussion. I quit smoking over five years ago in favor of vaping.

E-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than tobacco: UK study

But burning stuff was socially acceptable because it might otherwise be a candle or lantern for light, or a flame for warming food, or something…
But when would it be socially acceptable to spray factory produced poison into the air near other people ?

Isn’t this just like strong perfume or deoderant or body odour ? If your own your own, fine, but like not near anybody else unless you are quite sure they tolerate it…