Smoking, E-Cigarettes and COVID-19

Last updated: February 9, 2022

If you smoke tobacco or marijuana, or use e-cigarettes, you have a higher risk of developing more serious illness from COVID-19.

Your physician can review your medical record to help you understand your personal risk. More information about smoking, e-cigarettes and COVID-19 is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here are answers to some common questions you may have. This information might change as we learn more about COVID-19. If you have other questions, talk to your physician.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you smoke or use e-cigarettes, you are not more likely to get COVID-19. However, you are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.

The virus can cause intense infection and inflammation in the body, including the lungs. People who smoke or use e-cigarettes may already have underlying lung disease or reduced lung capacity, decreasing their ability to fight an infection like COVID-19 and increasing their risk of having serious complications.

Everyone should follow CDC guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 exposure and infection. We urge you to:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Physically distance.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

Talk to your physician about options available to help you stop smoking or using e-cigarettes. Northwestern Medicine offers smoking cessation resources, and the Illinois Department of Public Health operates the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 866.QUIT.YES (866.784.8937). Learn more by reading 5 Steps to Quitting Smoking.

Take your regular medications exactly as prescribed by your physician. Keep at least a 2-week supply of your medications. If you need a refill, call your physician or send a request through MyNM. While refilling your prescription, you can limit exposure to COVID-19 by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy. Or, have a caregiver pick up your medication.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should be tested for COVID-19. Learn about your testing options in the COVID-19 Resource Center at

The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the CDC.