Coronavirus transmission: can secondhand smoke spread COVID-19?

Experts claim that droplets that transmit the novel coronavirus can travel further in both cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor. Secondhand smoke is no doubt harmful, but COVID-19 has potentially made exposure to tobacco smoke more dangerous. Researchers have found that microscopic droplets of water vapor exhaled from the lungs transmit viruses from person to person.

Can cigarette smoke transmit coronavirus?

Secondhand smoke could make coronavirus more dangerous for teenage e-cigarettes

When smokers exhale a steamy cloud, it usually contains an enormous amount of particles that are full of harmful substances. What humans may not know, however, is how far these particles can go. Scientists believe that the virus can attach itself to particles and travel three, four, or five times farther than if it were simply in the air. Even breathing normally can spread the disease. That is why epidemiologists recommend face masks to prevent virus particles from spreading freely in the air. In addition, smokers do not wear masks when puffing or vaping a cigarette. Smokers also often exhale harder, which means the particles they push out of their lungs can travel even further.

For example, one study found that e-cigarette users have the ability to create a large cloud of exhaled vapor. This is considered to be one of the most attractive aspects of vaping. So the cloud of smoke gives people a very good idea of ​​how far to stay away from it. With cigarette smoke, if people can smell it, then they are close enough to it. In addition, secondhand smoke can remain in the air for several hours and can also spread far enough to be inhaled. Singing or shouting can also transmit coronavirus through the emission of aerosols, as many cases have shown. Forced exhalation of smoking with pursed lips, however, can cause cigarette smoke to travel at least twice as far as it does when talking normally. Vapers are particularly prone to spreading SARS-CoV-2 among themselves, as vaping or shisha smoking is often a group activity.

Risk factors for transmission

Elderly man smoking cigarette outdoors with protective mask removed

Since most e-cigarette smokers consider this to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes, many tend to vape indoors where they would not otherwise smoke. However, research has shown that the highest risk of novel coronavirus transmission is indoors. This is dangerous not only for the smokers but also for those in the vicinity of the vaporized droplets. Smokers and vapers have a particularly high risk of contracting COVID-19. This makes contact with tobacco smoke or the vaporization of clouds of smoke even more risky.

For example, a recent Stanford University study found that teenagers and young adults who used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than non-users. Those who used both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes in the past 30 days were almost seven times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Also, x-rays of lung damage from smoking and COVID-19 look very similar. In addition, this damage can make the lungs more prone to infection. Vapers are likely more prone to COVID because they have more epithelial damage that allows for greater penetration of the virus.

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