• Health experts say vaping and smoking impact your health amid the coronavirus pandemic
  • Doctors say the habit can damage the defense mechanisms of the lungs
  • Smokers are more likely to suffer adverse outcomes from COVID-19 according to scientists

Many have long believed that smoking is a soothing habit that could relieve stress. While recent studies have found evidence that the habit actually increases tension and anxiety, there are still lots of Americans who continue smoking and vaping. Today, health experts are warning everyone that such habits can severely affect your health, particularly your lungs, something that you do not want to happen amid the COVID-19 crisis.

coronavirus risk increases for smokers and vapers
coronavirus risk increases for smokers and vapers maja7777 - Pixabay

Coronavirus Targets The Lungs

Recent studies conducted by MIT scientists have identified the organs being targeted by the deadly coronavirus. One such organ is the lungs. Scientists say the virus causes damage to the alveoli. The alveoli are small air sacs that facilitate the entry of oxygen in your bloodstream and aids in ejecting carbon dioxide out of the body. When this happens, you will have breathing difficulties, which some health experts say is similar to a drowning sensation.

What does this have to do with smoking or vaping? According to doctors, smoking and vaping can damage the defense mechanisms of the lungs. This can make it harder for you to fight off coronavirus infection or other types of respiratory diseases.

Dr. Richard Castriotta, a pulmonary critical care specialist at Keck Medicine of USC, said that smokers might suffer adverse results from coronavirus infection. “It’s now pretty clear that there is data to show that if you are a smoker, you’re more likely to have adverse outcomes from COVID-19, need mechanical ventilation and to die than if you’re not a smoker,” according to Dr. Castriotta.

Increased Risk

While it is true that science is still in its early phase, several studies have found that cigarette smokers are more prone to have severe infections. Many lung doctors say the findings did not surprise them at all. Dozens of ailments, many of them serious, have resulted from smoking.

Some claim smokers might even develop immunity to the deadly virus. Dr. Stanton Glantz has referred to these claims as “really fringe stuff” and revealed that this belief is being pushed by vaping and tobacco advocates. Dr. Glantz is the director of a tobacco research and education center at the University of California, San Francisco. He said that a meta-analysis conducted by his research team that collated data from 12 studies on the matter had debunked such belief.

According to Dr. Glantz, based on a pair of new studies, his research team analyzed, smokers and vapers face twice the risk of disease progression. One study conducted by Chinese researchers found that smoking and vaping increase COVID-19 risk by a factor of four. Another study revealed that of those who succumbed to coronavirus infection, 9% were current smokers.

More Research Needed

For Dr. Kathryn Melamed, while many of the recent studies on smoking and vaping make natural sense to her, more research is needed on the matter. This is for them to draw firm conclusions that smoking and vaping will indeed aggravate the condition of someone infected with COVID-19. Dr. Melamed is a pulmonary and critical care doctor at UCLA Medical Center.

According to her, the data they have on the matter is preliminary and very limited. She said they do not know how many of their patients are smokers, who among them have COVID-19, and who are in their homes doing well.