Study Finds Vapers Not More Likely To Get COVID-19

The pervasive anti-vaping narrative at the beginning of the pandemic had real consequences.


Vapers are at no greater risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19, and smokers are significantly less likely to be infected. That's according to a new study published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health.

The study's authors are researchers at the Mayo Clinic who wanted to investigate whether electronic cigarette use might affect risk for testing positive for COVID-19. One of the difficulties in determining the relationship between vaping and COVID-19 has been a lack of data. There is a plethora of data on smoking status among those infected and hospitalized, but the same cannot be said for e-cigarettes.

To remedy this problem, from September 15, 2019, to November 30, 2020, the researchers screened 78,547 patients seeking medical care for e-cigarette and cigarette use during ambulatory appointments at their medical facility. After removing patients below the age of 12 and those who didn't want to be a part of the research, 69,264 patients were analyzed.

Patients who used only e-cigarettes were no more likely to have a COVID-19 diagnosis than those who don't smoke or vape. Those who smoked only cigarettes, on the other hand, were 57 percent less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. The results may come as a surprise to many as it was widely thought at the beginning of the pandemic that both smoking and vaping would cause more COVID-19 infections with worse symptoms.

But as the Mayo Clinic researchers make clear in their study, "the impact of tobacco use on SARS-CoV-2 infection risk and COVID-19 severity remains unclear."

There's been little research on whether vaping increases one's risk of testing positive for COVID-19. The most widely reported study was published last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which claimed young people who vaped were significantly more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than those who didn't. The study was severely criticized for faulty methodology and communication of results, including by Reason Foundation Policy Analyst Jacob James Rich who co-authored one of several letters to the journal highlighting the study's flaws. The study was used as justification by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D–Ill.) to demand a federal ban on all e-cigarettes during the course of the pandemic.

E-cigarettes were an early villain of the pandemic, despite no evidence of how they were affecting infections or hospitalizations. In February 2020, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The justification for the prohibition was an early study that found smokers were at increased risk of a severe outcome after being infected with COVID-19. Considering e-cigarettes are not combustible cigarettes and have been proven to be significantly safer and effective at helping smokers quit, it's hard to discern why the initial data on smoking from China would justify banning flavored vaping in New York. Nevertheless, flavored e-cigarettes were banned in New York in May 2020.

Appearing on NBC's Today Show on March 23, then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams postulated, without evidence, that vaping could be the reason young people may be at higher risk from COVID-19 than previously thought. "There are theories that it could be because we know we have a higher proportion of people in the United States and also in Italy who vape," said Adams.

Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine that vapers could be at high risk for COVID-19. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey went so far as to issue an advisory warning that vaping could worsen the spread of COVID-19. In March 2020, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed, "If you are a smoker or a vaper that does make you more vulnerable." These claims essentially went unchallenged, aside from a handful of scientists and tobacco harm reduction advocates who raised the alarm.

The finding that smokers are less likely to be infected with COVID-19 is not a novel one. The vast majority of studies across the world show a similar result. These results hold in the majority of studies that adjust for factors such as age and gender.

The lack of clear and accurate communication about the relationship between smoking, vaping, and COVID-19 from public health authorities such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration has had real-world consequences. Smokers were prioritized for vaccination despite there being no clear evidence they were at increased risk compared to the elderly or the obese.

Erroneously linking vaping to COVID-19 may have also increased skepticism among smokers about the benefits of switching to safer nicotine alternatives like e-cigarettes. Thanks to bad data and unsupported assumptions, members of Congress demanded the full-scale prohibition of a product that has helped millions of Americans quit smoking.

Smoking is widely known to be bad for your health, and everyone agrees youth should not be vaping. These messages don't need to be augmented with noble lies about COVID-19 to achieve a beneficial public health outcome.

NEXT: Study on Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Finds 'Conclusions Were Often Erroneous'

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31 responses to “Study Finds Vapers Not More Likely To Get COVID-19

  1. It lined up perfectly with the cdc/fda anti vaping narrative before the pandemic.
    Its almost like they are polititions who want power and money and not the scientists they claim to be

    1. ^^^

      Always remember the CDC was focused on “the vaping crisis” instead of restocking our national mask supply.

      Then remember that the injuries were all from black-market products, and the CDC’s plan was to ban legal products, driving more people to the very black-market products that were dangerous.

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      2. restocking our national mask supply.
        Another useless gesture.

    2. Never let a crisis go to waste. CDC jumped all over dovetailing the two to get rid of the “horrors” of vaping.

  2. everyone agrees youth should not be vaping

    Not everyone.

  3. Criticizing bureaucrats is anti science, so sayeth saint fauci of wuhan.

  4. Study Finds Vapers Not More Likely To Get COVID-19

    But are they more likely to turn Japanese?

  5. “Vapers are at no greater risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19, and smokers are significantly less likely to be infected.”

    So we should be smoking instead of wearing masks?
    (Asking for a friend)

    Given that the feds have lied all along about vaping, and lied all along about the Communist Chinese Virus, how is it a surprise that they lied about them together?

  6. nobody is likely to get covid-19 anymore

  7. I remember hearing that nicotine had therapeutic value for covid early on. Anyone know how that turned out?

    1. It turned out that you aren’t supposed to know that.

    2. Can’t get C9VID-19 if your arteries and veins have totally closed up.

  8. Vape away. You’re just likely to look like a fake cigarettes’ smoking internet porn watch millennial why is afraid to knock boots for real.

  9. But still, vipes are not suitable for youngsters, I suggest you stay at home and take care of your health, keep yourself hygienic and drink clean water . Because even now the possibility of getting Covid-19 is not over.

  10. because they were already dead from lung cancer

  11. Better take care of ourselves and people around us, hope everything will be normal 🙂

    1. Isn’t that how Jerry Springer always ended his show?

  12. Stay at home mom Kelly Richards from New York after resigning from her full time job managed to average from $6000-$8000 a month from freelancing at home…

    This is how she done it…

    1. Clearly she provides on-line tutoring of English as a second language.

  13. Young people who vape nicotine are exposed to a toxic chemical that can harm adolescent brain development (the brain continues to develop until the age of 25) and lead to dependence.

    1. Based on public school performance. brain development is stopped well before 25.

  14. At a well-visit screening for a health insurance discount, during a lifestyle Q&A portion of the exam, my doctor (who is a proponent of tobacco cessation by any means) implicitly warned me that vaping is being classified as smoking by my insurance company and that I should carefully consider my response.

    I lost all my vape stuff along with my guns in that boating accident last year.

    1. how tragic!

      1. Was the boat damaged?

  15. Could be that people stayed farther away from smokers than from non-smokers.

  16. What is it with Libertarians and vaping?

    Don’t get me wrong, I have Libertarian tendencies and don’t have anything against vaping, but the obsession is still strange to me.

    1. I guess they are both trying to mimic the Dragon of The Green Dragon Tavern.

  17. It’s time to choose a different way to calm down than smoking. ashwagandha can be a life-saving medicine for you, you can learn more about it here . Take a responsible approach to the issue of your health.

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