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As the world combats the coronavirus (COVID-19), it has never been more important to keep our lungs healthy. One of the best ways to do this is to quit smoking and vaping – and to prevent young people from ever starting in the first place. We urge all smokers and vapers to quit at this critical time. We also urge policymakers to take strong action to reduce smoking and vaping, especially among young people.

Health Experts Warn Smokers and Vapers at Greater Risk

The coronavirus attacks the lungs, and behaviors that harm the lungs put individuals at greater risk. The harmful impact of smoking on the lungs is well documented, and there is growing evidence that vaping (use of e-cigarettes) can harm lung health as well:

  • There is conclusive evidence that smoking increases susceptibility for respiratory infections, weakens the immune system and is a major cause of underlying health conditions that increase risk for COVID-19, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), other lung diseases, heart disease and diabetes.

  • There is also growing evidence that vaping can also harm lung health. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has stated that “emerging evidence suggests that exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes harms the cells of the lung and diminishes the ability to respond to infection.”

For these reasons, there is mounting concern among leading public health organizations and medical experts that people who smoke or vape are at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Adding to these concerns is the fact that youth e-cigarette use remains at epidemic levels in the U.S. 3.6 million U.S. kids use e-cigarettes, including 1 in five high school students (19.6%).

Act Now to Reduce Smoking and Vaping

As a result, there has never been a more important time to take action to reduce smoking and vaping.

We urge smokers and vapers to make every effort to quit. 
Research shows that quitting rapidly leads to improved lung function. Quitting tobacco is challenging, but there are free resources available from the CDC and other experts to help.

We urge parents to have conversations with their kids about smoking and especially about vaping. 
While kids are at home, and away from social and peer pressure to vape, this is a great time for parents to help their kids better understand the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction.

  • Visit our Resources for Parents page to learn more about e-cigarettes and find tips for talking to your kids about this serious problem.

We urge policymakers to implement strong measures to reduce tobacco use and prevent kids from using any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

We urge policymakers and the public to recognize and reject the shameful efforts of tobacco companies and vape shops to exploit the COVID-19 crisis to boost their brands and market their harmful products.

It has never been more important or urgent to prevent young people from using any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and to encourage and help current tobacco users to quit. The coronavirus pandemic should serve as a wakeup call to make our lungs healthier now and for the future.