Campaign urges teens to quit smoking, vaping because of COVID-19 risk

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is urging kids and adults to quit smoking and vaping in light of the coronavirus.

Citing concerns over how smoking damages the lungs, as well as increases risks for respiratory infections, weakens the immune system and causes other chronic health conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as vaping’s impact on lung health, the group said now was the time to quit smoking.

Smokers and vapers, the group said, are at greater risk of developing serious conditions if infected by the coronavirus, of COVID-19, as it is also known.

“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.” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, wrote in a blog post. “It is, therefore, reasonable to be concerned that compromised lung function or lung disease related to smoking history, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), could put people at risk for serious complications of COVID-19. Vaping, like smoking, may also harm lung health. Whether it can lead to COPD is still unknown, but emerging evidence suggests that exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes harms the cells of the lung and diminishes the ability to respond to infection.”

A study in China done during the early days of the outbreak there, and published in the Chinese Medical Journal, looked at 78 patients who tested positive for COVID-19. The study found that smoking could aid the virus’s progression.

The study found that of the 11 patients in the group whose pneumonia progressed, all were older and had a history of smoking.

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