Vaping and COVID-19: Clearing The Air

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of people worried about what could increase their risk of getting sick. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of misleading claims being made about how vaping apparently can put someone at a higher risk. However, the actual research tells a different story.

What’s Reported

Many major news organizations are reporting that both smoking and vaping will place someone at a higher risk of harm from COVID-19. Several anti-vaping activist groups, such as the Truth Initiative and Parents Against Vaping and E-cigarettes are also using the pandemic as an opportunity to ramp up their efforts. Laurie Rubiner, executive vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, went so far as to say that “youth who vape are potentially more vulnerable to symptoms of COVID-19” at a National Medical Association webinar focused on COVID-19 and vaping.

Sadly, this kind of misinformation is not new. Back in 2019, vapes also came under attack when mysterious lung illnesses began to pop up and hospitalize nearly 3,000 Americans. The media, anti-vape groups, and even the FDA and CDC placed a lot of the blame onto vapes and e-cigarettes. Even when the research came out that black market cannabis carts tainted with vitamin E were the main cause, states still went through with anti-vape laws and bans.

What The Research Says

When you look at what the current research states, it tells a much different story than what’s being reported. Experts such as Dr. Caitlin Notley from the University of East Anglia in England state that “There is no evidence that vaping increases the risk of infection or progression to severe conditions of COVID-19.” When the FDA claimed in March that vaping and e-cigarettes places people at a higher risk, several experts including professors from Harvard, NYU, and even the Iowa attorney general wrote to the agency stating there is no proven evidence for these claims. The FDA would eventually admit there is no proven link on April 15th.

Despite these developments, many states and cities still have their anti-vape laws in place. This means many people don’t have access to these products, even though they have not been linked to COVID-19. Meanwhile, cigarettes, which have been shown to do lung damage, are still for sale during the pandemic.

In fact, it might be the case that anti-vaping efforts have worsened the COVID-19 pandemic, as many smokers may have been more inclined to switch over to vapes. Due to the misinformation, they think vapes are somehow just as bad for them, and don’t think they should make the switch. Some research is also looking at a potential link between how nicotine may actually decrease a person’s chances of getting sick.

As it stands, there isn’t any evidence at this time which links vaping to COVID-19. Therefore, be careful about what you might see stated elsewhere. At a time where there’s a lot of rumors going around, you want to make sure you stay on top of the facts.  

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