COVID and Vaping: Misinformation
During the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a lot of confusing and contradicting information and the vaping community has been hit by another wave of misinformation as a few people have tried to link vaping to an increased risk in coronavirus. However, this is not true and is not backed by any science, Public Health England has clearly stated that:
“There is currently no evidence that coronavirus can be caught from passive exposure to e-cigarette vapour.”
While vaping safely does not increase your risk of coronavirus, smoking can increase the harm caused by the virus as it attacks the lungs and can cause lasting damage. If you are a smoker your lungs are more susceptible to infection and more susceptible to the damage caused by infections and this extends beyond COVID-19, so now is a great time to switch to e-cigarettes if you are on the fence about quitting.
The NHS Smokfree site key points on smoking and COVID are:
The evidence on smoking and coronavirus (COVID-19) is mixed and developing. On the available evidence we advise:
- If you smoke, you generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infection and of more severe symptoms once infected. Coronavirus symptoms may therefore be more severe if you smoke.
- Stopping smoking will bring immediate benefits to your health, including if you have an existing smoking-related disease. This is particularly important for both you and for our NHS at a time of intense pressure on the health service.
- E-cigarettes (vapes) can be an effective aid to stopping smoking and staying smokefree.
It is currently unknown what effect vaping may have on susceptibility to severe disease if you are infected with coronavirus.
- For most people vaping remains significantly less harmful than smoking and it is very important that you avoid returning to smoking.
While it is always a good habit to keep your vape kit sanitised, the spread of coronavirus is even more of an incentive. While you wash your hands many times a day to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting coronavirus, if you are touching your vape often, you should consider cleaning the surface of the vape consistently as you would wash your hands. To wash your vape any anti-bacterial wipe will work effectively. It is also good practice to take your kits apart and clean them with hot water (although you should ensure the vape is fully dry before its next use). It should go without saying but it’s essential that you keep your vape to yourself and don’t share or all the hard work you’ve done to clean it and keep yourself safe could be in vain.
Vaping awareness for those around you and for your own habits
Be aware of where and when you are vaping as blowing out a cloud is filling the air with your vapour. Many people will be uncomfortable if the vapour is around them as breathing someone else’s vapour in during a pandemic is a scary thought, so make sure you maintain the 2m social distancing advice given by the government and perhaps even consider switching to a kit that produces less thick clouds for use while you are out of the house. If you are one of the many people working from home or even a student stuck indoors, I’m sure you are aware how being able to vape whenever you like in the comfort of your home as you work can cause you to gradually vape more and more. Although vapour is not harmful it can get expensive, and as you vape more your cravings for nicotine will increase, so be aware if you are starting to increase your normal intake of vapour and consider buying lower nicotine concentrated e-liquid, or even limiting your e-cigarette use to certain times or rooms.
Safe vape hardware and eJuice supply during Covid lockdown
Businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19 and the vaping industry is no different. Fortunately online vape stores are still available, and stepping out of your comfort zone to look into new online shops can be a positive experience and can open up new products, flavours, and brands that you may not have known about. Many smaller stores are based primarily online and this is a good opportunity to support these businesses during a very trying time, if you know someone who is quitting smoking and has struggled with the isolation and lack of availability on the high street, redirect them to one of the many online stores as it could help prevent them from slipping into bad habits.
Smoking increases the risk presented by COVID-19 and other infections so if you decide to stop smoking it will bring immediate health benefits, and in a time where the NHS is under tremendous stress, preventing smoking-related diseases and issues is a good thing on many levels. If you would like to stop smoking, vaping offers an effective aid to this as it provides the sensation of smoking and helps satisfy the nicotine cravings you may battle with. If you vape or plan on starting to vape, keep the hygiene tips I have mentioned in mind as keeping your vape clean is as important as keeping your hands clean.