31 Mar National Drugs & Alcohol Facts Week: Vaping
Today is Day 2 of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. Today let’s talk about vaping and its potential complications with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Top priority for everyone right now is not only preventing the spread of the coronavirus to other people but keeping ourselves and our children healthy as well.
Unfortunately, health experts have reason to believe e-cigarette use (which has skyrocketed among teens over the last few years) may interfere with the human body’s ability to fight COVID-19, making it even more essential that parents monitor their children and discourage them from vaping.
“As with cigarette smoking, vaping can also compromise the respiratory system,” according to the Cleveland Health Clinic. “This means that people who smoke or vape are more susceptible to lung infections.” The chemicals in e-cigarette liquids can “impair the immune function of cells found in the airway and lungs.” The article goes on to explain that “The ingredients in vaping liquids, especially in flavored electronic cigarettes, can affect cell function in the airways and suppress the lungs’ ability to fight infection.” Unfortunately, flavors are more widely used among teens than unflavored products.
While there hasn’t been much research on a direct link between vaping specifically and more severe cases of COVID-19, an article in the Scientific American quotes a study from the Chinese Medical Journal which involved 78 patients with COVID-19 and found those with a history of smoking were 14 times as likely to develop pneumonia.
Not only are people who smoke and vape potentially likely to have a more severe reaction, because smoking suppresses the immune system, they may be more likely to catch it as well.
“Vapers’ risk of viral infections has not been studied much, although there are some epidemiological studies suggesting they are more likely to get respiratory infections,” according to the article.
And according to the University of California San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, it may not take much to make an impact.
“People who have any cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine) in their bodies – even at the low levels associated with secondhand smoke – have substantially increased risk of acute respiratory failure,” the article reads.
Health experts recommend quitting smoking or vaping, especially when there is a deadly respiratory virus going around. There are lots of resources to help adults and teens quit.
One of the best ways to deter teens from vaping is by their parents talking to them about it and giving a strong message of disapproval. Check out our blog post on how to do that here.