GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

April 29, 2013

E-cigarettes only harm the smoker ,not secondhand breather

:Dear Abby: I work in a small office with two former heavy smokers who have now transitioned to vapor/e-cigarettes. My concern is that they “smoke” their e-cigarettes in the office constantly, and I don’t know what chemicals I am now breathing secondhand.

Both of them are senior to me in rank and age, and they pooh-pooh the notion that anything but water vapor is being exhaled. Am I making something out of nothing, or should I be worried about this?

:Clean Air

:Dear Clean Air: You don’t have anything to worry about, but your co-workers may. In 2009, the FDA announced the findings from a laboratory analysis that indicated that electronic cigarettes expose users to harmful chemical ingredients, including carcinogens. However, those elements were NOT detected in exhaled vapor.

:Dear Abby: The woman who collaborated with me on this letter is in her 80s and lives at an assisted-living facility. I am a caregiver and a senior myself, and I have worked in this area for six years.

We read your column on the days I care for her. She loves it and responds verbally to all the letters. Many times the situations spark good conversation, even though her short-term memory is failing. Sometimes we end up howling with laughter. She’s a delight and has the courage to still seek out relationships.

This is what she asked me to help her to communicate.

:Kate In Austin, Texas

:Dear Abby: I have been in assisted living for seven years. There are times when it can be lonely and boring. I’d like to meet some men for companionship, conversation and perhaps romance. The men here act so much older than me. They don’t start conversations. They stay in their rooms and watch TV and don’t seem interested in conversations.

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