Nevadans for Informed Marijuana Regulation
"Marijuana vaporisers were used to circumvent public consumption laws
(eg, while at work or when driving)."
Vaping is so new that research and regulations have not yet caught up with it. We have been unable to find any studies on the effects of direct marijuana vaping or inhaling secondhand marijuana vapors. Even research on vaping tobacco is still scarce.
Vapor Contains Harmful Compounds
We do know, however, that (nicotine) e-cigarette vapors contain harmful compounds. Some are the same as what is emitted by traditional cigarettes, and some are new chemicals. In large part, the vapors contain propylene glycol, which is associated with eye and lung irritation. They contain fewer carcinogens than traditional cigarette smoke, but more particulate matter and specific metals, which can cause respiratory problems. Secondhand vapers absorb about the same amount of nicotine as secondhand smokers. E-cigarette flavorings also contain harmful compounds. For example, many contain diacetyl, which causes a serious lung disease known as "popcorn lung."
Until last year, e-cigarettes were completely unregulated by the federal government, and their ingredient labeling was often found to be incorrect. E-cigarettes are marketed in ways that attract children (for instance, candy flavors), which is prohibited for traditional cigarettes.
Vaping Hides Public Marijuana Use
Because vaping is essentially odorless, many people vape in order to consume marijuana in public, including while driving or at work. While public marijuana consumption is illegal in Nevada, vaping will allow users to avoid detection, exposing bystanders to vaporized THC without their knowledge.
Regulate vaping like smoking.
Require vapor to have a distinctive, non-appealing odor and color.
A study published in 2015 examined the vaping habits of high schools in Connecticut, where recreational marijuana is illegal. It found that 18% of students who used e-cigarettes had vaped marijuana.
The researchers added:
Although scientific data on the topic currently are lacking, the popular media have reported higher rates of students using e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis in locations in which its use is prohibited (eg, in class, while walking around the neighborhood, at home). Furthermore, police and parents report difficulty in detecting vaporized cannabis use because it is easily concealed by the absence of the pungent and characteristic odor of smoked cannabis.
Young Adult Use in Denver
A 2015 study interviewed young adults in Denver, Colorado about tobacco, marijuana and vaping. It found that the subjects used vaporizers in order to use marijuana in public. Examples included covertly using marijuana while driving and when at work or school.
The researchers concluded that:
Communities concerned about the use of marijuana in public spaces should consider including all vaporisers (for nicotine or marijuana) in smoke-free regulations to prevent this confusion. Additionally, there is a concern that growing popularity of vaping, for tobacco and marijuana, might renormalise smoking.
Source: Tobacco Control
Fewer Organic Compounds, More Specific Metals
A 2014 study found that e-cigarettes emit more specific metals (nickel, zinc and silver) than traditional cigarettes, but fewer organic compounds and other metals.
Components of E-Cigarette Vapor
A great deal of e-cigarette vapor is propylene glycol (an eye and lung irritant) and/or glycerin; these are used as aerosols. Some newer vaporizers generate carbonyls such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, and butanol. In those vaporizers, the level of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, was comparable to what is found in tobacco smoke.
One study found that indoor vaping led to increased air levels of particulates, organic compounds and aluminum, though these levels were lower than traditional cigarettes would cause. Researcher Stanton Glantz has pointed out that "'Many of the effects of secondhand smoke on the cardiovascular system have highly nonlinear dose–response curves,'" meaning that the lower levels of some compounds may not mean a lower health risk.
The vapor also contains "a high concentration of heavy metals and silicates." The metals come from the vaporizer's heating element.
Research on e-cigarette vapor has been challenging due to the variety of products on the market and the lack of reliable labeling.
We were unable to find any research on marijuana vapor. The following information is specific to e-cigarettes. The fact that secondhand vapor results in the same nicotine exposure as traditional cigarettes suggests that THC exposure from vaporizers will be comparable to THC exposure from marijuana smoke.