Vaping can cause underlying lung and heart conditions in users. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that because of this, users are at a higher risk of contracting and suffering severe complications from COVID-19.
What Does Vaping Do to the Lungs?
Vaping damages the lungs and causes respiratory problems, inflammation, and weakens lung tissue, making it vulnerable to infection. There is a growing list of side-effects linked to vaping, including:
- Respiratory failure
- Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP)
People who vape are at high-risk for developing e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). This disease causes permanent lung damage that is so severe that some patients may be put on mechanical ventilators or eventually need lung transplants. In 2019, more than 2,800 e-cig users were hospitalized, and 68 others died because of complications from EVALI.
When Vaping and COVID-19 Cross Paths
The high levels of nicotine contained in e-cigarettes, like Juul, is linked to weakened immune systems. Therefore, medical professionals say that chronic vaping makes it challenging to fight off any viral infections in the lungs, let alone COVID-19. From what is known about COVID-19, it attacks the lungs and kills lung cells and tissue.
COVID-19 attacks the same areas of the lungs as EVALI does and may have already caused severe damage. Those who have or have survived EVALI and contracted COVID-19 or have both conditions at the same time can become extremely ill.
More Cases Among Younger Adults
The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and other public health experts believe that vaping could be the reason why the United States has a higher percentage of young people diagnosed with COVID-19 than other countries. In New York City alone, 40% of the confirmed cases were adults between the ages of 18 to 44 as of April 1, 2020, which is the demographic more likely to vape.
During this time of social distancing, it is recommended that parents explain the dangers of vaping and increased risks of COVID-19 with their teens. Medical experts advise that now would be a good time than any to quit vaping and smoking while many are staying home. The American Lung Association can be a great source of information for vapers and smokers who want to kick the habit.