Health experts warn smoking, vaping could affect impact of coronavirus

WASHINGTON D.C. — Health experts warn that people who vape or smoke could face a greater threat from the coronavirus.

“Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape,” said Dr. Nora Volkow with The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Thus far, deaths and serious illness from COVID-19 seem concentrated among those who are older and who have underlying health issues, such as diabetes, cancer, and respiratory conditions. It is therefore reasonable to be concerned that compromised lung function or lung disease related to smoking history, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), could put people at risk for serious complications of COVID-19."

Anti-tobacco advocates urge people to quit in the wake of the pandemic.

“The coronavirus is in fact a lung disease,” said President of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Matthew Myers. “Anything that weakens your lungs or immune system puts you at greater risk."

"If you get it, it makes it more likely you will get it more severely and have a harder time getting through it. If you’re a smoker or a vaper, this is the time to quit.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not specifically placed smokers or vapers in the high-risk category for getting seriously impacted by the coronavirus.

So far, it lists the elderly and people with underlying health conditions which does include chronic lung disease.

Experts said there isn’t enough research or evidence right now to show whether there is a direct link between people who vape and people who get the coronavirus.

Research on the effects of smoking and vaping and the coronavirus is on-going.

Pro-vaping advocates blasted the connection between vaping and the impact of the coronavirus.

“Even during a pandemic, activists and government bureaucrats are willing to risk their credibility by trying to tie nicotine vaping products to COVID-19,” said President of the American Vaping Association Gregory Conley. “Lung injuries and deaths that occurred last year were caused by illicit, contaminated THC products, not nicotine vaping products, so during this pandemic, it is important that cannabis consumers stay away from street-bought vape pens."

"However, adult smokers should not be scared away from using these smoke-free products by misplaced fears being pushed by those with no care or regard for adults desperately seeking to quit smoking.”