Stealth Vape Research

Posted 14th August 2018 by Dave Cross
A team from Penn State College of Medicine are worried about stealth vaping in areas where vaping is banned. It’s an odd piece of research, especially as it totally contradicts a previous paper by two of the authors.

The team writes: “Smoke-free air policies protect non-smokers from hazardous second-hand tobacco smoke, promote quitting and smoking reduction among current smokers.” It should be noted that they obtain this perspective from a Campaign For Tobacco-free Kids “fact” sheet.

But they are worried, very worried: “a new tobacco product called an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette, e-cig) has become increasingly popular,” and threatens to undermine these no-vaping policies. Some might shrug at this point and wonder what their issue is.

The paper, published in the Tobacco Control journal, is yet another one that brings Foulds and Yingst together, this time with the assistance of Lester, Veldheer, Allen, and Du. Titled ‘E-cigarette users commonly stealth vape in places where e-cigarette use is prohibited, in it they note a “potential behaviour to cope with restricted e-cigarette use is to ‘stealth vape’, the practice of vaping discreetly in places where use is known to be banned, including holding the vapour in their mouth long enough to allow it to dissipate before exhaling.”

The problems, as the team sees them, is that stealth vaping:

  • Could cause greater dependence
  • May impact bystanders who could potentially be exposed to harmful chemicals in second-hand vapour
  • May have the potential to change social norms and promote e-cigarette use among non-users and youth

Clearly, these fears are complete nonsense – as Foulds himself said as much in 2014. POTV quoted Foulds saying that vaping carried much less addictive potential, from his study of 3,500 people.


The concept of second-hand vapour is an absolute non-starter. Public Health England has gone on record to say all the evidence says that vaping poses “negligible risk to bystanders”.

Finally, if stealth vaping is the act of vaping undetected, how on earth can something unseen possibly “change social norms and promote e-cigarette use”? The suggestion is laughable.

Foulds said in 2014: “[Vaping] has the potential to do good and help a lot of people quit.”

The current paper claims to discover (through some nifty data manipulation) that 64.3% of vapers stealth vape somewhere they are prohibited from doing so. This adds another curious aspect to the findings as, in 2016, Foulds and Yingst published a study stating: “88% do not find it difficult to refrain from vaping in places where they are not supposed to vape.”

And, in 2017, Foulds concluded in a further study: “e-cigarette users are less dependent on their respective product than comparable cigarette smokers.”

Finally, lets all point and laugh at one of the current paper’s main conclusions: “E-cigarette dependence was a significant predictor of stealth vaping.” So, they’ve uncovered that non-vapers are very unlikely to stealth vape. Brilliant.

Given the dramatic shift in language being used in the new study, the question has to be asked as to why is he and they are shifting position? The answer may be in the paper’s ‘Competing Interests’ section: “Foulds has done paid consulting for pharmaceutical companies involved in producing smoking cessation medications, including GSK, Pfizer, Novartis, J&J and Cypress Bioscience, and received a research grant from Pfizer.”

*This topic touches on the old fears over particulates being produced when vaping. For those who wish to read a thorough debunking of the notion, refer to Clive Bates’ Scientific sleight of hand – constructing concern about particulates and Carl Phillips’ Science Lesson: what are vapor, aerosol, particles, liquids, and such?

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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