PHN Explores: Smoking or vaping may increase the risk of a severe coronavirus infection (From Scientific American)

PHN Content By Mat Edelson

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If We Had Written the Headline

Vaping and Covid-19 could be a toxic mix

Why You Should Care

Journal of the American Medical Association study found more than a quarter of all high school students vape or use e-cigarettes. So do more than 10% of middle-schoolers. Given the growing link between vaping and lung damage, a lot of youngsters (and maybe even your kids/nieces/nephews), may be putting themselves at risk for a serious case of Covid-19, which can attack lung tissue.

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What's New(s)

Many vapers believe e-cigarettes are safe, claiming last year’s epidemic of ER visits for lung damage doesn’t apply to them (the CDC noted that outbreak was linked specifically to vapers using either home-made or “black market” e-cigarettes containing vitamin E acetate). Furthermore, there are no studies explicitly linking vaping to greater risk for catching Covid-19.

However, a growing body of evidence in the lab, mice, and people suggests e-smoking can increase the severity of lung infections and/or suppress immune activity in nasal cells (and if there’s anywhere you want your immune system to be healthy, it’s your nose, as this is often the first place coronavirus will attempt to infect your body).

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Story Source

Scientific American, 3/17/20, by Tanya Lewis. See the story

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Story Experts

Dr. Melodi Pirzada, chief of pediatric pulmonology, NYU Winthrop Hospital; Ray Pickles, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related Stories

Does vaping raise your risk of Covid-19 symptoms? Source: Wired, 4/10/20, by Sara Harrison

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Deep Dive

Here’s the study that looks at the relationship between e-cigarettes and impairment of the immune system in the lungs: Exposure to electronic cigarettes impairs pulmonary anti-bacterial and anti-viral defenses in a mouse model

Here’s the study that investigated e-cigs and the immune system response in the nose: E-cigarette use results in suppression of immune and inflammatory-response genes in nasal epithelial cells similar to cigarette smoke