Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op
People who smoke or vape are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 infections, according to some medical experts.
“When someone’s lungs are exposed to flu or other infections, the adverse effects of smoking or vaping are much more serious than among people who do not smoke or vape,” Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, wrote in a blog post earlier this month.
Vaping nicotine is a popular activity among younger demographics in North America. The US Centers for Disease Control reported that up to 20 percent of people hospitalized with coronavirus in America are between ages 20 and 44.
In a blog posted by the Cleveland Clinic, pulmonologist and smoking cessation specialist Dr. Humberto Choi writes that vaping impairs the defence mechanisms of the lungs.
“Everything that we inhale goes straight into the airways and into the lungs, which is different from our heart, our liver and our kidneys that are protected,” he writes. “But the lungs are exposed to the environment, so the lungs and the airways do have a defence mechanism against that. What vaping is doing is impairing this defence mechanism for the lungs.”
There has been little research about the impact of vaping cannabis, but Glantz says it stands to reason that cannabis consumers are also at increased risk for infection.
“We do know that cannabis smoke is very similar to tobacco smoke (other than a different psychoactive agent, THC vs nicotine). And vaped cannabis delivers an aerosol of ultrafine particles and chemicals deep into the lungs,” he writes.
“It would be sensible to stop using these cannabis products, too.”
Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, alongside heroin and other drugs deemed to have “no medicinal value.” This makes it difficult for researchers to conduct health studies involving the plant, despite it being recreationally legal in 11 states.