According to medical experts, vaping (or JUULing) can weaken the respiratory system which makes the lungs more prone to infection. This has some experts drawing a connection between vaping and COVID-19.
When asked in an interview why the United States has such a high number of young people who have contracted COVID-19, the Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, said vaping may be a potential reason. Additionally, Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, flagged the potential increased risks of contracting COVID-19 for people who vape nicotine or marijuana in her recent blog post:
“As people across the U.S. and the rest of the world contend with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the research community should be alert to the possibility that it could hit some populations with substance use disorders (SUDs) particularly hard. Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape. ..evidence suggests that exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes harms the cells of the lung and diminishes the ability to respond to infection.”
What Can Parents and Caregivers Do?
The connection between vaping and an increased vulnerability to COVID-19 can be a strong talking point when discussing vaping with your teen or young adult. Not only is it important that your child stays healthy, but it’s important not to risk the health of other people in the home. Other risks of vaping include toxins and fine metal particles in the e-liquid, the risk of nicotine or marijuana addiction, and changes to how a young person’s brain develops.
If you have previously asked your child to quit or cut back without the result you’d hoped for, the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 present a good opportunity to try again. Help with quitting is widely available via apps, telehealth programs, approved medication and nicotine replacement therapies. Some states and municipalities, like Maryland, offer such resources for free.
We offer a vaping guide that provides more information and tips to guide your conversations. If you need additional support, please reach out to our helpline specialists who are available to listen to your concerns, develop a plan and point you to other helpful resources.