E-cigarettes and Covid-19. Will e-cigarette users be hit harder than others by Covid-19? At present, there is no evidence to suggest this. But the health effects of long-term smoking affect the risks - even for those who quit smoking with the help of vaping.
In these times when COVID-19 As the virus spreads across the world, lung health is the focus of concern. COVID-19 can settle deep in the lungs, affecting oxygen uptake and causing breathing difficulties. This means that people who already have lung problems can be particularly affected by the virus. The risk of complications also increases for people with cardiovascular disease. And since smoking is a known cause of both cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, ex-smokers are also a group at higher risk of coronavirus and COVID-19.
'What we can see is that fewer smokers than expected are affected, but that they are more affected than non-smokers. But it is difficult to draw any conclusions yet, we do not have enough reliable data", says Mr Perez. Konstantinos Farsalinos, doctor and e-cigarette researcher at the University of Patras, Greece, in his blog E-cigarette Research
The smoke is the cause - not the vapour
But what about those who quit smoking and vape instead? Does e-cigarettes increase the risk of coronavirus complications? Konstantinos Farsalinos says it depends on how you look at it. E-cigarettes in themselves are not a risk factor, according to him.
"But we know that most people who vape today are former smokers, or they still smoke alongside vaping. It is therefore a group that is likely to have health problems after a long period of smoking. In many cases, they carry smoking-related injuries with them, even long after quitting. This means an increased risk, but not because of e-cigarettes. There is absolutely no evidence for that," says Konstantinos Farsalinos.
E-cigarettes do not increase the risk of coronavirus
He is joined by Linda BauldProfessor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. Linda Bauld is one of the authors of the UK Department of Health report "Vaping in England" which was last updated last week. The report confirms that e-cigarettes are 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes. The agency also actively encourages smokers to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
"There is currently no evidence whatsoever that e-cigarettes increase the risk associated with a coronavirus infection. It would be irresponsible to make such a claim," said Mr Perez. Linda Bauld to the media channel Regulator Watch as the Mayor of New York City recently called for the counselling for a risk group for the COVID-19 disease.
E-cigarettes, COVID-19 and quitting smoking
In addition, clinical trials, conducted in the UK on behalf of the British Cancer Society, show that that smokers who switch to e-cigarettes improve the condition of their blood vessels within a month of quitting. And according to Konstantinos Farsalinos road users have a better chance of coping with COVID-19 than, for example, active smokers.
"Smokers should stop smoking. If nothing else works for them, vaping is a sensible option. But they should give up cigarettes completely and not use e-cigarettes and analogue cigarettes in parallel. And those who don't smoke today shouldn't start vaping either," says Mr Higgins. Konstantinos Farsalinos.
Note: In 2020, several studies have suggested that smokers, or rather nicotine users, are underrepresented among people who fall ill with Covid-19. You can read more about this in the related links.