person blowing vape smoke at lungs

Asthma Attack from 2nd Hand Vape Smoke?

Last updated: March 2022

I was just reviewing an info graphic about asthma and smoking. It says:

"Kids with asthma who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home = 2x more likely to be hospitalized due to asthma flare" 

What is vaping?

It seems obvious to most people that smoking and asthma don't mix. Some people have switched to e-cigarettes and swear that it's better for them. E-cigs also goes by the names like Mods, Cigalikes, Vape Pens, E-Hookah, Shisha Pens or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS).

But I attended a conference where I heard a presentation from the CDC and they said that vaping is still "an assault on the lungs". Whether kids are smoking or vaping, it's still assaulting the lungs.

I try to avoid anyone smoking, because it triggers asthma attacks for me. But what about the smoke from vaping? Can secondhand vape smoke cause asthma attacks?

Research about secondhand vape smoke on asthma

New research from CHEST Journal (Official Publication of the American College of Chest Physicians) shows that you can. Their study was with youth, and the results were:1

"Overall, 21% of youth with asthma reported having an asthma attack in the past 12 months, and 33% reported secondhand ENDS aerosol exposure. Secondhand ENDS aerosol exposure was associated with higher odds of reporting an asthma attack in the past 12 months..."

You read that right - 1/3 of youth who had an asthma attack were triggered by smoke from someone vaping.1,3

Most of us know about the usual asthma triggers, and it's a pretty long list.

And now we can add smoke from vaping. With all of those possible asthma triggers, it's amazing that one asthma trigger is responsible for 1/3 of asthma attacks in youth!

What to do if you're around others that vape?

So, what do you do if your teens are around other teens that are vaping? Well, I wrote an article called "Staying in a Dangerous Situation." In it, I talk about listening to a psychologist at a conference explain how hard it is for teens to leave a situation that could be dangerous (because it may trigger an asthma attack). Teens may just want to go along with the crowd. Let's face it - some teens are just trying to survive school without getting bullied. So, do they go along with the crowd, start acting like a class clown to avoid being a target, or just disappear in the background and hope no one notices them?

Chances are, your teens may be around someone who is vaping. If you think teens don't vape at school - just ask the teachers or principal! It happens. All the time. And if your teens have asthma, and are triggered by vaping smoke, then what? How do they get out of that situation?

This is one of those fun times as a parent where you get to talk to your teens about their asthma triggers. How can they avoid their triggers and not stay in a dangerous situation? It's time to make a plan so they know what to do ahead of time and not panic.

Has anyone had to talk to their teens about avoiding someone who is vaping? Any of you adults triggered by someone vaping nearby?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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