A new paper from researchers at University College London looked at COVID-19 and vaping. It rounds off a year where many have sought to demonise electronic cigarettes, yet this study showed no association between vaping and being diagnosed/suspected contraction with/of the virus. It followed a study from Germany that showed smokers were far less likely to be diagnosed with the infection too.
Vaping is widely accepted to be far less dangerous than smoking and yet it still became a key concern as the COCID-19 pandemic grew. Many public health bodies failed to report facts and it came down to Public Health England to offer some clear guidance.
Dimitra Kale, Aleksandra Herbec, Olga Perski, Sarah Jackson, Jamie Brown and Lion Shahab conducted an ongoing investigations as the months rolled by to see if there was an association between vaping and being diagnosed as having contracted the virus or vapers suspecting they had caught it.
The authors found there was no difference between never vapers, current vapers, and ex-vapers. They also discovered that around 50% of the vapers surveyed had changed their vaping behaviour since the pandemic struck. Finally, with those who reported an increased desire to quit vaping, they all said it was due in part to fear of the disease.
- 17.4% of vapers quit because of fears of contracting COVID-19
- 40.7% of quitters were considering taking up vaping again
- 48.3% of vapers did not change how they vaped
- 42% increased their consumption of eliquid during the first lockdown
- 9.7% decreased the volume of juice they used
The Health Behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic (HEBECO) study looked at data provided by 2791 adults in the United Kingdom, 75% of which were never-smokers/never-vapers.
They self-reported data on “sociodemographic characteristics, diagnosed/suspected COVID-19, vaping status, changes in vaping, and motivation to quit vaping since COVID-19”.
Ex-vapers considering taking up vaping again were doing so because they reported being “bored”, “struggling with cravings”, and “feeling stressed”.
The team concluded: “Among UK adults, self-reported diagnosed/suspected Covid-19 was not associated with vaping status. Half of current vapers changed their vaping consumption since Covid-19, with the majority reporting an increase, and a minority was motivated to quit due to Covid-19.”
In Germany, the City of Essen established a Task Force to collect data during the outbreak. Its findings prompted Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos to write: “Bloomberg should immediately hire witch hunters to discredit the German scientists who dare report that smokers were 72% less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in Essen. This battle is between science and public health disgrace.”