“It turns out the coronavirus also binds to the type 2 pneumocytea and causes significant illness that way,” Rutland says. “If you already have less type 2 pneumocytes, your lung is already under a significant amount of stress. So if you smoke and you contract the coronavirus, you’re probably going to be that much worse off.”
Castriotta also urges people to stop vaping — tobacco and cannabis — due to the added chemicals and their unknown long-term effects. He especially warns against using illicit cannabis vapes that have not been properly regulated and tested and are sold legally. Illicit vapes are often contaminated with vitamin E acetate, a chemical that has been linked to many cases of respiratory illness and death.
“Anything that you could do to reduce the risk of lung injury, you should do,” he says. “If you smoke anything and injure the lung in any way, you’re increasing the risk of the virus being able to penetrate deeper into the lung.”