Healthy Coping / Vaping Prevention
Locally and across the globe, we are still learning about the range of health impacts from COVID-19. Researchers are working tirelessly to help us understand more about the illness, how to protect ourselves and the community from the virus, and how to best treat those infected. Health experts have directed us to wash our hands thoroughly, to stay home as much as possible, to maintain social distancing, and to wear a face covering when out in public to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.
While it's important to do all we can to prevent getting COVID-19 in the first place, it's also essential that we do what we can to keep our lungs healthy to avoid the worst impacts of the disease. Although there is still much to learn, research now indicates that smoking and vaping can increase the risk of contracting COVD-19, and mounting evidence shows that people who smoke or vape are more susceptible to severe symptoms if they do contract the virus. A recent Stanford University report shows that teens and young adults who use e-cigarettes are five to seven times more likely to test positive for the virus.
The American Lung Association recommends quitting smoking and vaping as important steps to immediately improve health and possibly avoid the most serious symptoms of this frightening illness. Lungs that are already irritated may be more susceptible to COVID-19 symptoms. Further, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified smokers as a group of people at higher risk for severe illness if they contract the disease. In a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, people who smoke were 2.4 times more likely to have severe symptoms from COVID-19 compared to those who did not smoke. The heavy metals in e-cigarettes are known irritants that can cause coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath when inhaled. Smoking and vaping, regardless of the ingredients, causes harm to the lungs, leaving lung tissue inflamed, fragile and susceptible to infection. In addition, tobacco and nicotine use have been proven to harm the immune system and airway lining cells that contain cilia on their surface. The cilia are essential defenders against viruses like COVID-19, without them working properly, the lungs are more vulnerable to infection.
Of additional concern, vaping and smoking can also increase the risk of infecting others. If a person who smokes or vapes has COVID-19, but does not show symptoms, they are more likely to spread the COVID-19 virus through coughing, as they are more likely to confuse a cough caused by COVID-19 as a "smokers cough." As with cigarettes, Most of the same things that are inhaled in the lungs from the e-cigarette are also exhaled as secondhand aerosol therefore e-cigarettes also can potentially harm others through aerosol exposure. Also of concern, using a vape pen can increase the sort of hand-to-mouth contact that makes it easier for the COVID-19 virus to spread from mouth to hand and onto other surfaces. Social sharing of e-cigarettes can raise transmission risk as well.
Quitting smoking and vaping can better equip your body to fight off COVID-19 and may reduce the chance of developing the most severe symptoms. There are many resources to choose from, including virtual cessation resources, apps, and online community support. In a pandemic where a virus is spreading rapidly, everyone is encouraged to do all they can to keep themselves, their loved ones and their community safe.
Resources That Can Help You or a Loved One Quit
- American Lung Association
- Massachusetts Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program
- Facts about Vaping/how to talk to your child about Vaping
- Bedford Massachusetts Board of Health Community Health Nurse Mark Waksmonski
Email Mark Waksmonski or call 781-275-6507
- Carlisle Massachusetts Board of Health
- Concord Massachusetts Board of Health Concord Public Health Nurse Tricia McGean
Email Tricia McGean or call 978-201-2914
- Stay connected. Our hangouts are going virtual - which is the perfect time to connect with others that are quitting smoking. Join our online support community and join the Quarantine Quitters!
- Get proven support. Join Freedom From Smoking - our quit smoking program that walks you through the step-by-step process of quitting smoking. Through the program, you'll have access to tobacco cessation counselors who can counsel and support you one-on-one.
About the Products
Knowing what these products are, how they are used, and what they look like can be a helpful part of addressing student use at school and at home.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Vaping
- Vaping Product Overview
- New Vaping product: Melatonin Vape - inhaling anything into the lungs has potential negative health impacts and vaping any product can lead to use of other products including those with nicotine or THC
- Did you know that retailers sell vape products that are designed to enable discreet vaping? Items such as vape hoodies, watches and more that are intended to camouflage vaping activity?
- New FDA Authorizes Marketing of IQOS Tobacco Heating System with 'Reduced Exposure' Information
- More information: The New Look of Nicotine, THC and CBD Presented by: Dr. Marisa Silveri a community presentation discussing the adolescent brain and how substances, including nicotine can affect development.
- Public Service Announcement from local pediatrician Dr. David Geller