Does Vaping Increase Risk for COVID-19?

The novel COVID-19 pandemic poses a health and safety threat to everyone. It is highly contagious and can cause serious to fatal health complications even in someone healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, lists certain groups that are at an increased risk for severe illness associated with the coronavirus. The list includes people who smoke and vape.

Smoking and COVID-19

 According to the CDC, being a current or former cigarette smoker can increase your chances of severe illness if you contract COVID-19. The CDC recommends quitting if you are a current smoker, as well as not smoking if you never have before. Being a cigarette smoker can increase your risk of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many other illnesses. These health conditions can further your risk of complications related to the coronavirus. 

 COVID-19 can cause severe breathing problems, especially in older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions such as cancer or cardiovascular disease. If you are already prone to breathing problems or have a health condition related to cigarette smoking, you are at a greater risk of potentially life-threatening complications from the coronavirus. The virus can affect both parts of your respiratory tract and travel down your airways, irritating and inflaming the lining. Smoking’s potential effects on respiratory health are the most concerning, as the virus is a respiratory disease that reaches into your lungs.

How Vaping Can Increase Your Risk

 Cigarette and tobacco smoking are not the only activities that can increase your health risks in association with the coronavirus. Using an e-cigarette or vaping device could also damage your airways and cause lung disease – two things that will increase the odds of severe COVID-19 health complications. Physicians associate many health concerns with vaping, including bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung); e-cigarette, or vaping, use-associated lung injury (EVALI); and health problems related to ingesting liquid nicotine.

 If vaping damages your lungs or makes it more difficult for you to breathe, contracting COVID-19 could lead to severe health problems. One of the most serious concerns is the increased risk of pneumonia among cigarette and vape users. COVID-19 can easily transition to pneumonia, especially in someone predisposed to the condition. The higher risk of infection among tobacco smokers and e-cigarette users means they are more susceptible to life-threatening complications from the coronavirus.

Tips to Quit Vaping Today

 As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the country, now more than ever is the right time to quit smoking and vaping. As of July 2020, the US has had about 2,900,000 cases of the coronavirus, along with almost 130,000 deaths. Americans are contracting COVID-19 at a rate of 880.6 cases per 100,000 people. Massachusetts is number eight on the list of top states for new cases, with 109,974 total cases as of July 6. If you still vape or smoke cigarettes, quit now to help decrease your risk of significant health problems should you come in contact with the coronavirus.

  • Choose a date to quit vaping that is a week or two away. 
  • Prepare yourself for challenges, such as cravings, triggers and nicotine withdrawal. 
  • Stay busy with fun and productive activities to take your mind off of vaping.
  • Resist relapse by avoiding places and people that make you want to vape the most. 
  • Distance yourself from unsupportive people.
  • Build a support system around you of people who can help you quit. 
  • Reward yourself for small and large victories.

 You do not have to quit vaping alone. Resources are available to help you stick to your goals. People who smoke and vape have a much higher rate of quitting when they seek counseling from professionals. You can speak to a tobacco cessation expert at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for personalized support. Quitting vaping and cigarette use now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, could potentially save your life.

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