Electronic cigarettes in the indoor environment

Rev Environ Health. 2019 Jun 26;34(2):105-124. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2019-0012.


The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or "vaping") has seen an unprecedented increase worldwide. Vaping has been promoted as a beneficial smoking cessation tool and an alternative nicotine delivery device that contains no combustion by-products. However, nicotine is highly addictive, and the increased use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes among teens and individuals who are not in need of smoking cessation may lead to overall greater nicotine dependence in the population. Furthermore, available research indicates that vaping solutions and their emissions may contain much more than just nicotine, including aerosolized flavorings, propylene glycol (PG), and other intentional and unintentional contaminants. These materials could present undefined potential health hazards to both e-cigarette users and bystanders, the full extent of which is not well understood at this time. Whereas e-cigarette usage and exposures may lower some or most of the risks associated with conventional cigarette use, the health effects of nicotine and aerosol exposures from e-cigarettes are not well understood. Research indicates that vaping aerosols are not benign, especially for nearby people in areas with limited ventilation and people with compromised health conditions. In addition, e-juice liquids have already been responsible for an increase in accidental poisonings in children. Because the magnitude of health and safety hazards that vaping may present to nonusers remains unclear, it is prudent to manage and control vaping in indoor locations where smoking is currently restricted. Based on a review of current scientific information, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recommends that e-cigarettes should be considered a source of aerosols, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulates in the indoor environment that have not been thoroughly characterized or evaluated for health risk or safety.

Keywords: acetaldehyde; acrolein; e-cigarettes; formaldehyde; indoor environmental quality; nicotine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / adverse effects
  • Aerosols / analysis
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis
  • Vaping / adverse effects*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / adverse effects
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Volatile Organic Compounds