Study shows that e-cigarettes do not increase the risk of Coronavirus disease
Previous perceptions have suggested that e-cigarette use typically leads to respiratory disease and may also increase an individual's susceptibility to Coronavirus disease due to impaired lung function. Additional contact between fingers and mouth, sharing e-cigarette devices, or removing the mask during e-cigarette use can also increase the risk of COVID-19.
However, nicotine appears to reduce the risk of COVID-19 through its anti-inflammatory properties or the interaction between nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and COVID-19.
Although few studies have reported an increase in the severity of COVID-19 with e-cigarette use, several studies have reported no association between COVID-19 and e-cigarette use in adults. Because some people smoke e-cigarettes and smoke at the same time, it is difficult to determine the independent risk of e-cigarettes.
The primary outcome of this study was the diagnosis of COVID by positive PCR test.19 E-cigarette use was assessed by medical assistants during primary care visits. Information on previous e-cigarette use was also collected.
Information was also collected on age, gender, any data on prior year Medicaid enrollment, race/ethnicity, neighborhood deprivation index (NDI), medical service area, medical comorbidities, and body mass index (BMI).
Overall, 1.2% and 1.6% of participants reported ever or current use of e-cigarettes, respectively, while 97.2% reported never using vape. Current and former users were most commonly male, not obese, and non-Hispanic white. Most current users were reported to live in communities with lower levels of poverty. Former users had a higher rate of positive COVID-19 tests compared to current users or those who had never used disposable vape.
In summary, the current study suggests that while vape use contributes to health risks in youth, current use is not associated with COVID-19. However, further studies are needed to confirm these findings. One limitation of the current study is that screening procedures for e-cigarette use are new and not universal. Second, the results may not be generalizable.
The current study also did not assess the frequency, duration, and severity of e-cigarette use. The researchers also did not include COVID-19-positive participants with mild or no symptoms.
Another limitation is that the study was conducted in the early months of the pandemic and may not be generalizable to the later years of the pandemic. Finally, the researchers did not determine whether other factors, such as social distance and asymptomatic detection, varied with e-cigarette status.