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Coronavirus: How Smoking, Vaping and Other Drug Use Can Increase Risk Of Infection

Smoking, Vaping and other substance abuse can make you more vulnerable to the COVID-19 as US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled this group under "higher risk." People who smoke, vape or have substance use disorders people who smoke, vape or have substance use disorders. 

[T]he research community should be alert to the possibility that [Covid-19] could hit some populations with substance use disorders particularly hard," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote. Because Covid-19 attacks the lungs, those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape may be especially threatened, Volkow said.

"When someone's lungs are exposed to flu or other infections the adverse effects of smoking or vaping are much more serious than among people who do not smoke or vape," Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education at University of California, San Francisco wrote. 

"Vaping affects your lungs at every level. It affects the immune function in your nasal cavity by affecting cilia which push foreign things out...[T]he ability of your upper airways to clear viruses is compromised," Glantz said in a phone interview.

He said, "Some of my pulmonary [colleagues] have noted people under 30 [with Covid-19] ending up in hospitals and a couple were vapors," Glantz said. However, he said, there hasn't been enough research or evidence to support whether there's a link. People who smoke are generally at an increased risk of serious complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome when they have a severe infection.

The odds of a Covid-19 case becoming more severe -- and at the most extreme, leading to death -- were 14 times higher among people who had a history of smoking compared to those who did not smoke, Glantz said. The study also found those with a history of smoking had a 14% higher risk of developing pneumonia.

Source: CNN

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