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Research Letter
May 2017

Secondhand Exposure to Electronic Cigarette Aerosol Among US Youths

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(5):490-492. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4973

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use has increased considerably since these products were introduced into the US marketplace in 2007,1 and e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among US youths.2 In contrast to combustible tobacco products, e-cigarettes do not produce sidestream emissions from the device itself. However, aerosol is produced during activation of the device, some of which is exhaled into the environment where nonusers can be exposed through inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact.3

Secondhand aerosol (SHA) from e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances including nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particulate, volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, and other toxicants.3,4 However, to our knowledge, the extent to which US youths are exposed to SHA is unknown. This study assessed self-reported SHA exposure among US students.