Smoking and Vaping Increases the Risk of Infection - COVID-19

The risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is a great concern for many people. Some people who are at a greater risk of getting the virus are smokers.

The data shows that smokers who get COVID-19 are twice as likely to end up in the ICU as compared to nonsmokers. It comes down to the damage smoking does to our defense mechanism – the lining of our airway and lungs. “Smoking or vaping disrupts that lining, and it’s a perfect set-up for viruses and bugs to have a point of entry, leading to chronic inflammation," says Ashish Tikotekar, M.D., pulmonologist at CHI St. Vincent Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Clinic. "And we see this sudden rise in COVID infections in patients who smoke.”

Smokers are in a high-risk category, and many are seeking help to quit smoking. “You’re not immune to COVID if you’re young," says Dr. Tikotekar. Medications such as a patch can help. Dr. Tikotekar says more importantly, knowing your triggers, staying connected with your family and your doctor, and getting the support you need are most important. 

If you don’t succeed at quitting the first time you try, chances are higher you will succeed when you try again.