Secondhand Smoke And COVID-19
Secondhand Smoke May Carry COVID-19
We know secondhand smoke carries toxic pollutants being shared with others who are near the smoker. Could it also be carrying the novel corona virus called SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19? This is highly likely.
Viruses Can Attach To Smoke And Aerosols
Smokers who are infected but asymptomatic may spread COVID-19 via secondhand aerosol from e-cigarettes and secondhand smoke from combustible tobacco products to those around them. Both smoke and aerosols from e-cigarettes may contain the novel corona virus. The SARS-CoV-2 (also called corona virus) may attach to secondhand smoke and secondhand aerosol particles. Aerosols containing virus from coughs, sneezes and exhalations are able to travel 23-27 feet. The smoke and aerosols settle on surfaces and collect in dust. If they contain SARS-CoV-2, the virus may remain on dust and surfaces for many days.
Those Living With A Sick or Asymptomatic Infected Smoker Are At Greater Risk
Anyone in the building where there is a smoker who is sick from COVID-19 or an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 will presumably be at greater risk of catching the illness. This could be from inhalation, physical contact or even ingestion if smoke lands on food eaten by individuals living with the smoker or objects that a child puts in their mouth.
The Smokers Outside
Those living with smokers are the most at risk of course, but the smoker you pass on the street, the smoker in the car next to you, or your neighbor who blows their smoker or vaping aerosols to you may also be sharing SARS-CoV-2 with you if they are infected. These are all situations where you might want to be careful and keep greater distance.
Educate Smokers And Keep Your Distance From Them
Healthy adults can keep our distance from smokers, but what about children, or other individuals who have caregivers who smoke? Individuals who are cared for by smokers or vapors may be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 if that caretaker is infected. We need to educate smokers to the fact that smoke and aerosols may be the carrier of COVID-19 to family, friends and neighbors when an infected or asymptomatic carrier is smoking in the vicinity of other people.
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