Vaping, smoking, and drug use could heighten one’s chances of suffering coronavirus complications, experts in the United States have warned.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently updated its report to include that older adults and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for COVID-19. They labeled this group as “higher risk.”

However, there’s another group that’s at higher risk as well: smokers, vapers and those with substance use disorders.

“[T]he research community should be alert to the possibility that [Covid-19] could hit some populations with substance use disorders particularly hard,” Nora Volkow, a doctor and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), wrote in a blog post published last week.

This, he said, was due to the fact that the COVID-19 attacks the lungs — consequently, those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape may be at risk.

“Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape,” he added.

In another blog post, Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, said the adverse effect of smoking is much more serious alongside lung infections like coronavirus.

According to him, some of his colleagues had long noted that their under-30 COVID-19 patients, who ended up being hospitalized, were mostly those who indulged in vaping or drugs.

“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,” he said.

On March 8, Reuters also quoted Bill de Blasio, New York mayor, as saying that smoking or vaping makes people “more vulnerable” to suffering severe illness once infected by Covid-19.

“If you are a smoker or a vaper that does make you more vulnerable,” Blasio said during a press briefing.

“If you are a smoker or a vaper this is a very good time to stop that habit and we will help you.”

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has exceeded 260,000, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

So far, the disease has killed 11,113 persons while 87,363 have recovered.



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