What’s more important, vaping or your lungs? With the rise of COVED-19 in the U.S., some people who vape are reconsidering the habit while others report they feel more of an urge to continue, with some even increasing their intake as a means to cope with the uncertainty surrounding our current affairs.
Although the coronavirus has been “pigeon-holed” as a virus that primarily preys on the elderly, researchers are diving deeper to see what the correlation between vaping and younger people is, and if it could be a direct cause as to why the U.S. is seeing an increase in a number of youths hospitalized due to COVID-19.
“I think there is this misconception out there related to COVID-19 that only grandma will get sick from COVID-19, and because you are young, you won’t get it,” Humberto Choi, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic told News4. “I think the numbers from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are showing that this is not true, as almost 40% of the hospitalized cases are in people who are very young.”
COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.
Vaping adds strain to your lungs and airways, which in turn increases the risks, complications, if COVID-19 is contracted. Because vaping destroys the cilia in your lungs (i.e. the tiny, hair-like structures that trap viruses and debris and sweep them out of your airways), which is one of the human body’s primary protection against infection, your body’s defense system is depleted and allows the virus to more easily settle in your lungs. “This is a real disease. There are cases we are seeing in the hospital, people who are getting very sick and need life support,” said Choi. “It’s true that not everyone will die from the disease, which is great, but the disease can be severe enough to affect someone’s life forever.”
Research indicates that vapers could likely get serious lung conditions such as pneumonia than non-smokers. Vaping can also increase acute respiratory distress on your system, where fluid builds and fills up the tiny air sacs in your lungs. Here, your lungs are not able to take in enough air and the lack of oxygen causes an individual to breath much faster (with more shallow breaths), putting a strain on your heart and organs. Ultimately, this can lead to organ damage or possibly death.
Another health hazard to take into consideration when smoking or vaping is the repetitiousness of using your fingers and touching your lips, which permits the coronavirus to spread from your hands to your mouth.
“The anxiety level is at an 11 out of 10 about vaping and smoking right now from parents,” comments Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital who studies tobacco use among the young population. “No parent wants to see their child be placed in a higher risk category.”
Celebrity cheerleader Gabi Butler, who exhorted her 1.2 million Instagram followers to quit in a video ad for the Texas Department of State Health Services’ #VapesDown campaign, warned her subscribers, “With everything going on with the coronavirus, you guys want your lungs to be nice and healthy,” she says, warning about vaping causing toxins in the lungs.
Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), which is spearheaded by Meredith Berkman and Dorian Fuhrman, reported they have been getting a lot of messages from parents that are even more worried about their children’s vaping habits now during the pandemic. “Trying to get my 14 year old to quit – doesn’t want to,” wrote one parent on the group’s Facebook page. “She says she needs it to help her with stress…It’s killing me.” Another parent messaged the group asking for strategies to help her husband and her teenager quit. She acknowledged that Covid-19 has been motivating to give up the habit.
To take precautions and protect the health of your lungs, the only way is to quit. Here are some actions on how to quit vaping:
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