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Research Letter
May 6, 2019

Electronic Cigarette Use in US Households With Children: The “New” Secondhand Smoke

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland
  • 2Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Scarborough
  • 3Muskie School of Public Service, Public Health Program, Portland, Maine
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(7):693-695. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1139

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) aerosols are widely perceived as safe to nonusers.1 However, these aerosols contain potentially harmful compounds, including nicotine, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and ultrafine particulates,2 that nonusers can be exposed to through inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact with aerosols exhaled into the environment. The US Office of the Surgeon General has recommended prohibiting e-cigarette use in enclosed areas to avoid probable harm because of secondhand exposure.2 Previous studies have estimated the prevalence of e-cigarette use among US adults and adolescents,2 but, to our knowledge, the prevalence of households with children exposed to secondhand aerosols is unknown.