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article imageCan coronavirus be transmitted in vape vapor?

By Tim Sandle     Oct 25, 2020 in Health
Aerosols and vapor generated by electronic substance delivery systems could participate in the dissemination of the virus in the close proximity of coronavirus infected vapers, according to new research.
The spreading of the current coronavirus of concern is foremost by virus-laden droplets that are expelled at speaking, coughing, sneezing, or breathing. One of the primary means to protect an uninfected person from someone who is infected is to maintain a physical distance of two metres or more.
Contact should, however, be short because the risk continues where contact is prolonged given the ability of the virus to spread via aerosols. Such aerosols can spread over greater distances. It is possible that exhaled smoke or vapour from vaping products can enhance this mechanism.
Whether the coronavirus can be spread through exhaled vapour of an infected person will probably depend on level of mucus and saliva in the vapour and the force at which the vapour is exhaled (such as if the vapour is accompanied with a cough).
The issue has been raised by microbiologist Tom McLean (of the environmental body the NanoTera Group), who has said vapers could be spreading the virus with the aid of vape clouds. McLean told The Glasgow Times newspaper: "We're all used to walking down the street now and it's one cloud followed by another cloud, followed by another cloud....Blowing vapour out is as good as someone spitting in your face."
According to Dr. Winickoff, director of pediatric research at the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, it is important to alert the public and particularly young people that vaping may exacerbate the risks of spreading the coronavirus.
In support of this, Professor Linda Bauld, the Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, has said it is: "entirely plausible’ that the coronavirus could be transmitted through vape clouds .
To look into the dynamics, a research group from China used numerical simulations of a typical respiratory aerosol in a turbulent jet to simulate exhaled vapour. This was based on conditions designed to replicate ambient velocity, temperature, and humidity. The study also found that with rising ambient humidity the survival time of small droplets increased.
These opinions and findings are not shared by all researchers. For example, health experts from the University of Mexico are of the view that "Exhaled vapor from an infected vaper is a negligible contagion factor: it can spread very few virus carrying droplets, as much as blowing or mouth breathing." However, no research is provided to back-up this statement.
A further dissenting voice comes from the UKVIA, which is the largest trade body representing the vaping sector in the U.K. The group has asked for an end to what it considers to be misinformation about vaping.
Other opinions are currently neutral. For example, the U.K. government states: "it is currently unknown what effect vaping may have on susceptibility to severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19." Due to the absence of evidence, the British government further states: "we recommend that vapers avoid exhaling clouds of vapour in the presence of others."
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