Watching someone make a large cloud of steam in these times of pandemic can be intimidating for those who don’t know the mechanism of an electronic cigar. However, the fear of getting COVID-19 by breathing environmental spray is an still unfounded fear.
According to the Association for Tobacco Damage Reduction (ARDT), the authorities’ main concern is that there is a coronavirus infection when breathing the «steam» exhaled by so-called vaperos.
According to the document «Vaping and SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19», distributed by this association, «the key is to understand how the aerodynamic flow of this spray compares with that of the other two biological aerosols (exhaled breath and sneeze or cough)».
The main argument is that there can be no coVID-19 contagion through e-liquids containing the virus because «no pathogen can survive at temperatures of 180-220oC» and that is the amount of heat needed to generate the spray in electronic cigars.
To address the disinformation campaign on the use of these devices, the association’s document makes several references to university studies and statements from public health institutions in countries such as England, where the use of e-cigarettes is authorized.
For example, he cites the statement by Rosanna O’Connor, director of Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs at Public Health England, who recently said that there is no evidence of contagion (from COVID-19) through steam exhaled by e-cigarette users.
Smokers and ex-smokers to COVID-19
When assessing the risks in vapers against coronavirus, it is considered that most are ex-smokers or even active smokers. Vapers with a long prior history of smoking may have conditions observed in vulnerable patients, from pre-smoking.
The ARDT refers to research conducted in China to identify the severity of COVID-19 symptoms among smokers, in which it turned out that of 67 critical cases with intensive care, mechanical ventilation or death, 25.8% were smokers.
Although these analyses still need to be reviewed against other samples, scientists present their results to understand the evolution of the disease. For smokers, it was clear from the statistics in China that the same percentage of smoking patients may have mild or aggravated symptoms. Here the data: of 926 cases reported without severe involvement, 11.8% were smokers, and 173 cases with severe symptoms, 11.8% were smokers as well.
«Obviously, smoking contributes to the development of identified conditions of vulnerability, such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, or chronic lung disease. Still, the hard data showed a lower than expected smoking ratio,» explains the document distributed by the ARDT.
The partnership underscores that former smokers who continue to consume nicotine with electronic devices improve their biomarkers and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, so they are likely to have a better prognosis under the possible progression of COVID-19.
Recommendations to e-cigarette users
The ARDT warns that a vaper or anyone infected with coronavirus will spread more viruses because of their normal breathing than by vaping, explaining that e-cigarette users do not require stricter protective measures than intended for the rest of the population vulnerable to complications in the event of contagion.
However, he warns that vapers who no longer smoke should not do so again. While «dual users» are advised to become exclusive vapers to reduce the health risks associated with fuel cigarettes.
They also invite the vaperos to avoid the large clouds in public, even in open outdoors. This because ignorance of e-cigarettes among non-smokers could lead to altercations.
The recommendation is to use low-power devices and vaping discreetly. Do not vape in indoor spaces for public use and try to keep a distance of at least 2 meters from other people when vaping outdoors.
This is in addition to maintaining extreme hygiene measures with the devices and disinfecting them regularly.
In case of coVID-19 symptoms, like any other patient should keep quarantine as indicated by health authorities and in case of exacerbated symptoms go to the emergency services assigned for coronavirus care.
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