American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition

American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition

October 24, 2016
2 min read

Parental education on e-cigarette exposure risk needed

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SAN FRANCISCO — Many parents are unaware of the toxic exposure risk that vapor from e-cigarettes poses, suggesting that they need to be advised to enforce household rules against e-cigarette use to protect their children from harmful exposure, according to survey results reported at the 2016 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

Robert McMillen, PhD, associate director of the tobacco control unit and social science research center at Mississippi State University, and colleagues used data from the 2015 Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control to assess participants’ (n = 3,070) household rules and beliefs about the dangers e-cigarettes present to children.

Robert McMillen

Survey data indicated that e-cigarettes were prohibited inside of 67.9% of respondents’ homes and 76.9% of respondents’ cars. Restrictions in both settings were reported by 65.4% of respondents. A majority of adults believed that e-cigarette use should be prohibited in the same places that restrict cigarette use (83.7%) and that parents should not smoke e-cigarettes near their children (73.8%).   

E-cigarettes primarily emit a toxic aerosol, not harmless water vapor,” McMillen told “Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the risk that exposure poses for their children and do not implement household rules to protect their children.”

Fewer participants reported that they believed nicotine is present in e-cigarette aerosol than those who did not know (37.1% vs. 55.2%), and believed that the aerosol deposits nicotine on indoor surfaces (37.1% vs. 52.3%). There was no significant difference between respondents who reported that they believed children are exposed to nicotine when they are around e-cigarette emissions and those who reported that they did not know (44.3% vs. 46.1%).

Respondents less likely to restrict e-cigarette smoking in the home and less likely to be in favor of prohibitions included smokers, e-cigarette users, males, young adults — aged 18 to 24 years — adults with fewer years of education and adults who live with children. Believing that e-cigarettes are harmful to children was less common among smokers, e-cigarette users and adults with fewer years of education. Older adults and adults who live with children were more uncertain about the potential health threats of e-cigarette use and exposure.

“These data suggest an opportunity to educate parents about toxic exposure risks from e-cigarette aerosols and to advise parents to keep their homes and vehicles free from both tobacco smoke and e-cigarette emissions,” McMillen concluded. – by Alaina Tedesco

McMillen R, et al. Presented at: AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 22-25, 2016; San Francisco, California.

Disclosure: McMillen reports study support by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute grant to the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center (grant number 052302) and by the Legacy Foundation/Truth Initiative (grant number 6033). He claims that, “the information, views, and opinions contained herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of these organizations.”