The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took back its initial claim that vaping and e-cigarettes could increase the risk of dying from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
In March, the FDA warned the public that smoking weed or tobacco, or vaping anything at all, could make an individual susceptible to serious complications caused by the coronavirus. COVID-19 attacks the lungs in a similar fashion as the flu or the common cold. Unlike more common seasonal illnesses, COVID-19 can lead to a severe form of pneumonia that does not respond to conventional medical treatments.
“E-cigarette use can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of COVID-19 is not known,” an FDA spokesperson wrote in an email to Bloomberg News.
Most people who become infected with the coronavirus survive, though they may feel like they’re dying for the illness’s two-week duration. But people with additional medical conditions, such as being immunocompromised, diabetic, or having a history of high blood pressure or cardiac disease, are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than the general population.
The highest risk factor from dying of COVID-19 is age. Most people who succumb to the coronavirus are seniors aged 60 or older. As the virus spread across the globe, doctors and medical researchers noticed that an alarming number of younger people were unexpectedly dying from COVID-19, which led some to speculate that vaping could explain the higher-than-expected death rate in young adults.
However, the FDA’s latest admission does not mean that there is no link between vaping and COVID-19 deaths. The coronavirus only appeared late last year; scientists are still trying to understand how the virus behaves and how it affects populations. And since the science is crystal clear that tobacco smoke can gravely damage the lungs, and there’s a growing body of evidence that vaping may harm the body, as well (especially when combined with tobacco smoking), it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.
In other words, if you think you’re coming down with COVID-19 (or any respiratory illness), you may want to chill on the blunts and vape tricks until you recover.