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Expert suggests vapers use care to avoid COVID-19 spread

October 26, 2020

Photo: iStock

Vapers with COVID-19 will be emitting viral particles in their vapour, a leading expert has told The Guardian, though this risk can be mitigated by users choosing to vape considerately.

Prof Caitlin Notley, of Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, said: “Someone infected with coronavirus clearly would be emitting viral [particles] in their vape if they were vaping, just the same as they would if they were breathing out or singing. The thing with vaping is it makes breath visible and so when you are outside you can see huge clouds of vapour floating away in the wind.”

Notley was responding to a reader who shared concerns that walking past vape clouds on the high street could put them at risk of contracting coronavirus. She said this was a clear example of why wearing masks was vital.

“It is not a good idea for anyone to be exhaling big clouds of vape or singing loudly in a crowded area and sharing their exhaled breath with other people,” she said. “Of course, we would not want to discourage people from vaping if they have successfully managed to quit smoking.”

The vaping industry body UKVIA recommends vapers are considerate and respectful when vaping. The association’s director general John Dunne said:

“Regardless of COVID-19, we believe that vapers should be mindful and considerate in their vaping, as the vast majority already are. Large clouds of vapour are often seen in media portrayals of vapers, but this is certainly not the norm in day-to-day use.

“Vapers could also decide to use different devices and settings to reduce the volume of vapour produced in public. Vapers should continue to be aware of their surroundings and act appropriately. Many people use vaping devices with such discretion that it is difficult to notice at all.”