Secondhand smoke of electronic cigarettes promotes asthma attacks 2

Secondhand smoke of electronic cigarettes promotes asthma attacks

July 09, 2019

Bronchial asthma

Electronic cigarettes are often the starting point for teen smoking – © PhotoSG / fotolia

The science team used data from a regular study covering nearly 70,000 students from 11 to 17 years old from Florida. In 2016, 11,830 children and adolescents reported suffering from asthma. About one in five has reported an asthma attack in the last twelve months. About one-third of asthmatics were exposed to second-hand smoke from nicotine-based electronic products.

In addition to passive smoking, the researchers took into account various factors such as gender, ethnicity, age and place of residence (city or village, for example). It shows that asthma attacks were more common in children and adolescents exposed to second-hand smoke from electronic cigarettes and similar devices.

The research group points out that additional studies are needed to confirm this effect and study the long-term consequences. In the meantime, doctors say that they should alert patients to the potential risks of nicotine-based electronic products because they are often considered harmless.

E-cigarettes all but no problem

It is often said that electronic cigarettes and similar products contain less harmful substances than conventional tobacco products. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) reports, however, in a preliminary assessment that so far there has been virtually no independent investigation. A first BfR study confirmed a lower pollutant content in steam, but health problems are still possible. In addition, inhaled nicotine content and thus the potential for dependence are comparable to conventional tobacco products.

It is particularly important that e-cigarettes often represent the entry into the use of tobacco in children and adolescents. Flavors such as vanilla or apple attract young consumers. Pediatricians and environmental physicians have therefore explicitly warned against electronic cigarettes, tobacco heaters and the like.


Bayly, J.E. et al .: Second-hand exposure to aerosols from electronic nicotine delivery systems and exacerbations of asthma in young asthmatics. In: Safe, 2019, 155 (1): 88-93

Meinrenken, S., Lob-Corzilius, T .: Influence of Passive Smoking on Electronic Cigarettes on Bronchial Asthma. In: Pediatric Allergology, 2019, 3: 28-29

BfR communication no. 015/2017 of July 27, 2017: Preliminary risk assessment of tobacco heating systems as tobacco products

Press release 20/2018 of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) of 18.05.2018: What is the degree of dangerousness of tobacco heaters?

Press release of the German Society of Pediatric Allergy and Environmental Medicine eV: Pediatricians and environmental doctors warn of electronic cigarettes and new tobacco vaporizers (last call: 07.09.2019)