IAQ Concerns: Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes

IAQ Concerns: Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes

The fact that smoking tobacco indoors drastically degrades indoor air quality is well known, but research on how vaping – the popular name for using e-cigarettes – affects air quality is still ongoing. Some jurisdictions have completely banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places, anticipating that vaping will be as harmful as smoking.

Initial Study Results

The early findings indicate that using e-cigarettes indoors does produce some gases that can be harmful, but they’re normally in such small quantities that they’re not considered harmful. One research study measured the air quality at a vaping convention in Maryland in 2017. This event encouraged attendees to use their e-cigarettes as liberally as they wanted in a space with poor ventilation. The number of people in the room ranged from 75 to 600. The tests indicated that volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide concentrations exceeded the established thresholds for healthy indoor air. Nicotine was also present at harmful levels.

Applying the Results

The other studies took place in more typical situations where vaping was allowed indoors but not at extreme concentrations. The results indicated that e-cigarettes don’t produce levels of harmful byproducts under normal conditions. However, if you had a houseful of people using e-cigarettes, you might build unhealthy levels of vaping byproducts.

The key to maintaining indoor air quality when people are using e-cigarettes is to have adequate ventilation. It’s hard in the winter when it’s too cold to open a window or during heat waves. However, there is one option that will provide more ventilation without driving up energy costs.

An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) or heat recovery ventilator (HRV) provides fresh air ventilation without raising energy bills significantly. These are ventilation fans that exhaust stale indoor air and pull in fresh simultaneously. The core of the ERVs and HRVs removes the energy from the outgoing air and puts it into the incoming air, making them an energy efficient way to improve your home’s air quality.

If you’d like to learn more about maintaining good indoor air quality, contact the pros at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors. We provide HVAC services for Monmouth County homeowners.

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