Secondhand smoke isn’t believed to directly spread the virus, experts say, but infected smokers may blow droplets carrying the virus when they exhale. Being able to smell the smoke might be a red flag that you’re standing too close to the smoker.
The respiratory droplets people spray when they talk, cough or sneeze are believed to be the main way the virus spreads. And people also exhale those droplets when smoking, as well as when they’re vaping.
“Not only are they potentially spreading virus by not wearing a mask, they are blowing those droplets to the people around them to potentially get infected,” says Dr Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.
You should steer clear of secondhand smoke regardless. Breathing in secondhand smoke from cigarettes can cause various health problems, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry warned that smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with the lips, increasing the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth.
“Further, smoking products such as water pipes or hookah often involves the sharing of mouth-pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings. Evidence from countries reporting COVID-19 related fatalities has highlighted that the people with pre-existing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are more susceptible to becoming severely ill with COVID-19,’’ the Hindu quoted a senior official as saying this.
Speaking at the release of an e-book on tackling substance abuse and behavioral addiction in the country, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday also said.
alcohol intoxication can also increase the risk of infection and have other effects, including a reduction of immunity.
Similar effects can be anticipated with other drugs as well, he added. Vardhan elaborated on the “emerging evidence that smoking increases risk of COVID-19 as well as worsens the outcome in people who get infected with the virus.