Does vaping increase COVID-19 risk?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have speculated that vaping could increase the risk of getting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe outcomes from the disease. The claims were grounded in little to no evidence. A small amount has emerged since.
The authors of a California study claimed that their survey showed young vapers were five to seven times more likely than never vapers to test positive. It received a massive amount of media coverage. It also received scathing criticism and calls for retraction from longtime researchers in the field who cited multiple methodological issues.
A large Icelandic study reported that the proportion of e-cigarette users was lower among patients with COVID-19 than in the general population of Iceland and that patients using e-cigarettes did not have more severe symptoms than other patients.
A UK study found, "There were no differences in diagnosed/suspected Covid-19 between never, current and ex-vapers".
A large Mayo Clinic study found that "patients who used only e-cigarettes were not more likely to have a COVID-19 diagnosis".
A UK study found, "People who only vape were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than non-smokers. This was only found on one other occasion since 14 March 2021."
Disease outcomes were not analyzed in either study.
Another Mayo Clinic study concluded: "Vapers experience higher frequency of covid-19 related symptoms when compared with age and gender matched non-vapers". The study was limited, however, by an inability to determine the frequency or duration of use and by a rarity of severe disease.
An English study stated: "There was no evidence that e-cigarette use was associated with a difference in risk of severe COVID-19, but the estimates were imprecise, encompassing from modest protection to substantial increased risk". It was limited by the fact that vaping status was recorded a median of 23 months prior to the beginning of the study.
A large US study found that e-cigarette use was "not associated with an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or severe COVID-19 illness".
A study of never-smoking young adults in California concluded: "...current use of e-cigarettes was not associated with acquiring COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic".
There is a considerable amount of evidence that current tobacco smoking is associated with a reduced chance of testing positive. Former smokers appear to face more serious outcomes than current or never smokers. Outcome data on current smoking are mixed.
The association of smoking status with SARS‐CoV‐2 infection, hospitalization and mortality from COVID‐19: a living rapid evidence review with Bayesian meta‐analyses (version 7)
Characteristics and risk factors for COVID-19 diagnosis and adverse outcomes in Mexico: an analysis of 89,756 laboratory–confirmed COVID-19 cases
A twitter thread with links to hundreds of studies which report smoking and vaping status data of COVID-19 patients