For the love of vaping, please don’t vape around your kids. Or your pets.
Working in the industry, being interested in the community and being a vaper myself, I have heard people (vapers and non-vapers) claim that it is perfectly safe to vape around your children, and even heard people advocating for vapes for this reason.
I would like to first say that I wholly disagree with the notion that it is ‘perfectly safe’ to vape around children, and indeed, pets.
In the easiest terms, vaping is designed for smokers to help them kick the habit. Vaping around kids shows them that as adults, we see this as an acceptable practice, which we do, but because we are educated as to the effects of nicotine on our bodies, and are attempting to reduce the harm done to us. Children do not have this education. They do not listen when we tell them it’s not ‘cool’, because we are what cool is to them, everything they deem cool is based off of watching us. Nicotine is also quite harmful to developing brains and bodies, and can cause stunted growth and other health problems.
By now, most of us have heard the figure ‘95% less harmful than tobacco’. I myself, have heard and quoted this several times, and this figure might lead us to believe that this would be the case for the children exposed to secondhand vapour, however in reality, it may be less likely for issues to arise, but when they do, the potential harm can be much more immediately seen and will take effect very quickly.
To understand the importance of this issue, I think it’s imperative that one knows the contents of their vape juice.
In general terms, e-liquid contains mostly Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol, with small amounts of nicotine (often less than 1%) and flavour concentrates. Three of these are edible, with the only no-no in there being nicotine. Barring any allergic reactions, ingesting nicotine is the cause of most health complications that arise from e-juice. Nicotine itself is a poison, though you don’t need to worry that your 3mg Vanilla Beanie is poisoning you, as it takes a far higher dose than this to harm you.
The LD50 of nicotine in human adults is 6.5-13mg/kg, if ingested orally. In English, this means that you would need to ingest at least 6.5 milligrams of nicotine for every kilogram you weigh for this to be a fatal dose. For myself, this would be roughly 410 grams - whole grams, not milligrams - of ingested nicotine, but this was using the 6.5 mg/kg, if I plug in a higher number, you’ll see some people may be able to take quite some nicotine before it is lethal.
However, this information is all relevant to adults. In the case of children, the lethal dose could be as low as only 6 milligrams of nicotine. This is equivalent to 100mls of 6mg e-juice. Just because e-juice is not particularly appealing to the human palate as a drink, that does not mean it is safe to leave where children might reach it. They may still ingest some, and if you’re running higher than 6mg, even a small ingestion could cause some serious issues, and any exposure to nicotine whatsoever can be harmful to a child.
When it comes to pets, most domesticated species are sensitive to nicotine - dogs, cats and birds are all highly sensitive to nicotine, with cats being universally allergic to propylene glycol (PG).
The main risk here, as with children, is that they might ingest some e-liquid. However, most pets have sharp little teeth which can pierce bottles, and the ingredients smell quite appetising to little canine and feline noses.
The LD50 of nicotine in most pets is around 0.5mg per pound, even less than for children, in most cases. There have even been several reports of dogs dying to ingested e-juice.
Now, I understand all this information may seem worrying, but keep in mind that it is all relative. Nicotine is extremely dangerous for children and pets, mainly due to their size and ability to remove poisons from their blood.
So, what does all this mean for all of you parents (of fluffy kids or otherwise)? In the fewest words: Do not leave any bottles around, in reach of kids. They should be locked up, high and out of sight. If you have children cats or birds, please don’t vape around them, as it is harmful to their developing/feline/feathery bodies. Dogs are generally ok to vape around, as long as the room you’re in has decent ventilation.