Smoking, Vaping, and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together some answers to common questions about smoking and COVID-19. Read about the evidence and learn how to keep yourself safe.

As COVID-19 continues to progress, questions are arising about the relationship between smoking and the virus, particularly if continuing to smoke makes you more likely to get COVID-19. QuitNow is always here to help, especially in times of uncertainty, and we want to provide you with fact-based answers to the questions you might have.

 

Key points:

  • There is strong evidence that smoking increases the risk of both bacterial and viral infections, such as the common cold or flu.
  • Smoking weakens the body’s immune cells over time and makes it harder to fight infections. Tobacco smoke also impacts lung function, such as by causing mucus buildup in your lungs, which also increases the risk of infection.
  • We do not know how these factors relate specifically to COVID-19, but the key takeaway is that there could be a link, and attempting to quit could help lower your risk and reduce your chances of complications from the virus.
  • QuitNow is here to support you, whether you are ready to quit or would just like more information.

Please note: If you have specific questions about COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms, please visit the Health Link BC or the BC Centres for Disease Control websites or call 1-888-COVID19 for more information on the virus.

Below are some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and smoking/vaping:

How can I keep myself safe?

The best course of action is to give your lungs and your immune system all the protection you can, which means trying to quit or reduce your use of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

 

QuitNow’s Quit Coaches are here to support you either by phone or on our website through live chat, and you can always access our Community Forum for support from others who have quit or are looking to quit tobacco or e-cigarettes now.  Click here to access QuitNow's resources and supports for quitting tobacco and e-cigarettes.  If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, you can now request access to nicotine replacement therapies by phoning your local pharmacy, or phone your doctor to talk about quit-smoking medications.

 

If you are still smoking or vaping, though, use extra caution to try to protect your health and the health of those around you.

  • Try to maintain social distancing measures even in designated smoking areas
  • Avoid sharing your vape or hookah with your friends
  • Be conscious of the people around you when using these products, because second-hand smoke and vapour may also pose risks to people’s health.

 

We know that quitting smoking isn’t always an easy process. It can be even more challenging in times of stress and uncertainty. However, we encourage you to keep trying and not to quit quitting.

 

Now might actually be a good opportunity to try quitting, as your routine has likely changed because of physical distancing measures. Nicotine addiction is both physical and behavioural. Physically, feel-good chemicals are released when you have nicotine but go away over time, leaving you wanting more. Behaviourally, your brain gets used to having nicotine at certain times of day and in certain situations, and you become dependent on actions associated with smoking or vaping.  For example, you may be used to smoking on your lunch break or when out with friends. In your everyday life, it can be hard to avoid these situations that “trigger” a craving to smoke or vape. However, physical distancing has disrupted our daily routines, which could make these triggers easier to avoid and provide an opportunity for you to make a change away from tobacco or vaping.  

 

Our Quit Coaches and online community are great supports and can help you come up with tools to manage stress and conquer your triggers, and to keep you motivated to make this change. Remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to help.