Vaping dangers: Youth exposure to secondhand vaping on the rise

A growing number of middle and high school students are being exposed to secondhand fumes from e-cigarettes and vape pens.

New research takes a closer look at what impact those vapors have on teenagers' health.

When Nelli Ghazaryan's friends started to vape, she made sure to steer clear of the aerosol even though it didn't seem harmful.

"It smells really nice too, sometimes," Ghazaryan said. "So it seems it would be OK."

But as researchers learn more about the negative health effects of vaping, scientists are starting to wonder about the dangers of breathing in secondhand vaping fumes.

"You may not smell it. But If you do smell it, what you're smelling are chemicals which probably aren't good for you," said Dr. Tom Horowitz, a family medicine physician at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

Data from the National Youth Tobacco Surveys from the last four years shows student exposure to secondhand vaping has increased from one in four to one in three.

"You want to avoid," Horowitz said. "You want to keep at least 6 feet away and avoid rooms where there is a lot of vaping going on."

The trend is concerning because a number of possibly hazardous chemicals are released by e-cigarettes such as nicotine, heavy metals, aldehydes, glycerin and flavoring substances.

"The flavoring they use have problems." Horowitz said. "The solvents and the capsules they use have problems. The bottom line is, you're playing Russian roulette with your lungs."

Horowitz blames marketing for making vaping so appealing to young people. With research still coming in about the long-term effects, he always tells his patients not to start.

"We already have a lot of childhood asthma and air pollution," he said.

When it comes to people around you who vape, she says let them know you don't want to inhale secondhand fumes.

"There's miscommunication and it gets awkward especially in a social situations like a party," Ghazaryan said.

Make sure to clear the air.
Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.