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Does Vaping Make COVID-19 Worse?

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Does Vaping Make COVID-19 Worse?

When it comes to COVID-19, we know that people who smoke may be at a higher risk for severe illness, which makes sense because COVID can attack the lungs. It’s possible that the use of e-cigarettes, or “vaping,” also increases COVID-related risks, and research is slowly coming out on the topic.

New research from the Mayo Clinic finds that people who vape and test positive for COVID-19 have a higher frequency of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. A COVID infection can increase inflammation in the lungs, and vaping on top of that can make things worse, leading to the chance of a more systemic inflammation. As a result, you could experience an increase in symptoms such as fever, fatigue and headache.

The study also finds that people who vape and smoke tobacco, and test positive for COVID-19 complained of labored breathing and had more frequent ER visits. Studies have not yet found a connection between using e-cigarettes and testing positive for COVID-19.

It’s long been known that smoking can affect your lungs across the board, from the ability to fight off what you breathe in, to the ability to clear viruses in your airways. And there is growing evidence that vaping harms the lungs. It’s been associated with “popcorn lung,” a rare condition that results from damage of the lungs’ small airways and makes breathing difficult, as well as collapsed lungs and vaping-related lipoid pneumonia.

In 2020, the CDC flagged that the number of cases of severe respiratory illness among people who vaped had more than doubled, calling the illness “e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury,” or EVALI. Researchers have since identified vitamin E acetate, a chemical added to some THC-containing vaping products, as the main—but possibly not the only—cause of EVALI. According to the CDC, 15% of these patients were less than 18 years old.

The most recent studies show a decrease in youth use in 2020, but the rate is still very high: nearly one in five high school students report current e-cigarette use. Adults aged 18-24 are also using e-cigarettes at increasing rates. Current research has suggested that young e-cigarette users are four times more likely to begin smoking cigarettes compared to their peers who do not use e-cigarettes.

Data is still being collected as vaping is still relatively new, but to put it simply, just like we all know smoking is not good for your health, vaping is in the same boat. Quit smoking or vaping now if you haven’t already. Talk to our doctor if you want to quit – there is counseling, apps and medication available to help support you.