Recently, doctors started worrying about the genuine possibility that vaping and opioid abuse can make COVID-19 worse. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse recently published a reminder that the novel coronavirus could hit those with substance abuse disorders “particularly hard.” And, in San Francisco, California, doctors are worried over whether the rates of vaping are connected to the rates of severe complications in COVID-19 cases in young people.
We recently updated this article with new information on the subject. We added a section regarding opioid abuse and the increase in COVID-19 risk associated.
Some Doctors Are Certain Of The Link Between Vaping And COVID-19 Complications
Right now, there is no definite causal link between vapers and complications from COVID-19. However, there is enough evidence that shows vaping causes severe damage to developing lungs. So, it stands to reason that combining the potentially weakened, developing lungs of a young vaper with the devastating effects of SARS-CoV-2 (illness caused by COVID-19) spells disaster.
Some doctors are certain of the relationship between coronavirus illness complications and vaping. For example:
“It makes perfect sense. The parts of the lungs that vaping gasses affect are the same parts that the virus targets. IF people already have lung injuries that involve the same sites that SARS-CoV-2 affects, of course, it’s going to make it worse.” – Doctor Cedric Rutland, pulmonary care specialist (Digital Trends).
What Does The Current Science Say Regarding Vaping And COVID-19?
Right now, there isn’t enough evidence to causally link vaping and complications experienced from SARS-CoV-2, and most doctors won’t commit to one side or the other. However, since smoking traditional cigarettes limits your body’s ability to fight off infection, it stands to reason that vaping does similar things to your pulmonary system.
“Vaping, like smoking, depresses immune function in your lungs. And, your lungs, in addition to moving air in and out of your body, [need] to get oxygen to your cells and to get rid of carbon dioxide. [They] have an important immune function. Because, when you’re breathing, you breathe in a lot of bacteria and viruses.” – Doctor Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at UCSF.
“Teens and young adults that use e-cigarettes may not be aware of the damage caused to their lungs. They are more susceptible to horrendous complications from COVID-19. Inhaling any substance irritates and inflames lung tissue. Vaping makes you more susceptible to a myriad of lung diseases.” – Doctor Rogelio Choy, a pulmonary specialist in Palm Beach County
There is also a little evidence (albeit anecdotal for now) to support the claim. For example:
“A couple of colleagues here who are actually taking care of patients have noticed younger people who came in were vaping. What we need to start doing is to keep track of whether these people are smoking or vaping because that might be contributing to what’s going on.” Doctor Glantz, professor of medicine at UCSF.
What About Opioid Abuse And COVID-19 Risk Increases?
It’s no secret that the United States has a severe problem with opioid abuse. Moreover, in light of new information, doctors warn that abusing opioids could significantly increase your risk for developing complications from SARS-COV-2. Here’s a quote from California Health Line summarizing the problem:
“Whether you overdose or not, when you are taking opioids, the frequency of your breathing is down, and the oxygen in your blood tends to be lower. The [COVID] infection targets the respiratory tissues in the lungs. It interferes with the capacity to transfer oxygen into the blood.” – Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse
What Can You Do To Reduce Your Risk?
If you vape or smoke, then the best thing you can do to reduce your risk for serious COVID-19 complications is to stop. We understand that’s easier said than done. Still, it stands a chance at markedly reducing your chances for serious complications if you happen to catch the novel coronavirus. In the meantime, you can also practice the following five things to help reduce both the risk of spreading and catching this deadly virus:
- 1: Wash your hands often
- 2: Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- 3: Avoid touching your face
- 4: Keep a minimum of 6 feet between you and anyone who doesn’t live in your home
- 5: Stay home as much as you possibly can
Remember, viruses spread. So we all owe it to everyone around us to do what we can to help “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
And, as always, if you need help in a court of law, then don’t hesitate to contact the professional lawyers here at Cutter Law P.C. for a no-obligation consultation. We’re always standing by to take your case.