Secondhand Smoke from Vapes and Cigarettes Can Spread Coronavirus

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secondhand smoke
Image: Flickr/ athree23 (pixabay.com)

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers have stated that certain groups are more likely to contract the virus and develop a severe form of infection such as older adults. Recent research has further added that the infection is more prevalent in smokers who also tend to spread the virus to others via secondhand smoke.

Generally, the practice of smoking cigarettes is essentially harmful to health and can cause in long-term and often irreversible impact on health. In comparison with conventional cigarettes, vapes or e-cigarettes are no better.

In fact, a number of studies have even concluded that they can be potentially more harmful than cigarettes, which is the reason why there was a rise in vaping-related lung illness in the past year, leading to an eventual ban on vapes in many US states.

Additionally, health experts state that a person either smoking cigarettes or using a vape does not only harm himself but for others around people around him. This is due to the secondhand smoke that can travel and be inhaled by people sitting near a smoker.

People who are exposed to smoke like this frequently are also at a higher risk of associated health issues including the development of lung disease, breathing problems, and even lung cancer.

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Now, experts are saying secondhand smoke is more dangerous than ever since the start of the coronavirus pandemic around the world. Studies have shown that people who smoke or vape are not only at a higher risk of the infection but are also more likely to spread it to other people.

Why is this so? One explanation is that people usually have to take off their masks for smoking or vaping, which increases the chance of contracting the virus as wearing a mask makes a significant difference in decreasing the risk.

The smoke that is released in the air during the process can help in coronavirus transmission as it is airborne. In fact, the smoke particles can transmit the virus at longer distances.

Therefore, an infected person who is smoking can then easily transmit the virus even if he or she practices social distancing and wears a mask normally.

The director of Biomedical Research in the College of Nursing with specialization in  airborne particulate matter, Professor Loren Wold, explains that “When a vaping cloud is exhaled, it contains an enormous amount of particles,”

“What we don’t know is how far the particles can go. We know that the virus can attach to particles and can travel three, four, or five times farther than they would by simply being in the air.” Wold added.

Since the virus can even travel through normal activities, it makes sense that it can be transmitted via secondhand smoke as well.

For instance, a case of coronavirus spread reported by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention due to choir singing practices shows how easily the virus can spread.

Secondly, like a choir singing, vaping and smoking are also a social activity which people tend to do in groups. Therefore, the transmission of the virus through the activity and in such groups comes as no surprise.

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