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
- Am I more likely to get COVID-19 because I smoke or use e-cigarettes?
- What can I do to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What should I do if I smoke or use e-cigarettes and have symptoms of COVID-19?
- If I have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, what should I do?
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.
- 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 nm.org/covid19.
The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the CDC.