An Epidemic Supplanted by a Pandemic: Vaping-related Illness and COVID-19

Yoo Mee Shin, MD; Daniel P. Hunt, MD; Joyce Akwe, MD, MPH

Disclosures

South Med J. 2022;115(1):8-12. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, vaping-related illness was the prevailing public health concern. The incidence of vaping-related illnesses—mainly e-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury (EVALI)—went from a peak in September 2019 to a low in February 2020, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to discontinue the collection of EVALI case reports. Despite the decrease in EVALI with the arrival of COVID-19, EVALI should still be considered a differential diagnosis for people with COVID-19 for reasons outlined in this review. This narrative review describes vaping devices, summarizes the adverse health effects of vaping on the lungs and other systems, considers the potential interplay between vaping and COVID-19, and highlights gaps in knowledge about vaping that warrant further research.

Introduction

Although easily forgotten in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a major outbreak of vaping-related illness dominated public health concerns before the arrival of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2. This narrative review describes vaping devices, summarizes the adverse health effects of vaping on the lungs and other systems, considers the potential interplay between vaping and COVID-19, and highlights gaps in knowledge about vaping that warrant further research.

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