According to the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, when the lungs are exposed to flu or other infections the adverse effects of smoking or vaping are much more serious than among people who do not smoke or vape. Vaping has the potential to harm the lungs and reduce lung health in general. The effects of smoking in relation to COPD is still unknown, but evidence shows that exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes harms the lung cells and reduces the ability to fight infection.

An NIH-supported study, discovered that influenza virus-infected mice exposed to these aerosols had enhanced tissue damage and inflammation. Although there have not been many studies investigating this link specifically, a wealth of evidence suggests that smoking suppresses immune function in the lungs and triggers inflammation. 

There have been far fewer investigations of vaping, but preliminary research suggests it may do similar damage. Long-term smokers and e-cigarette users are at an increased risk of developing chronic lung conditions. These conditions have been associated with severe cases of COVID-19. Scientists say it therefore seems reasonable to assume that smoking and possibly vaping could increase the risk of developing a serious infection from the coronavirus.

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