After weeks of stating that people who vape and have underlying health conditions are at an increased risk of developing complications if they caught covid-19, the FDA has changed its stance, saying now that there is no known evidence that vaping puts people at a higher risk of having serious health effects tied to the virus. However, the agency has not stepped back on its warning that smoking cigarettes can still put individuals in danger when it comes to covid-19 complications.
Unsurprisingly, pro-vaping organizations like the American Vaping Association and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association are celebrating the backtrack as a win.
This change took place after a collection of high-profile scientists and policy experts sent a letter to the FDA pushing back on the organization’s initial stance on vaping and covid-19. Part of the argument was about harm reduction—the letter-writers worried that advising lifelong adult smokers against vaping would make them more likely to return to cigarettes, putting them at a much more certain risk when it comes to complications surrounding the virus.
“On what basis is FDA confident that it is right to discourage people with underlying smoking-related conditions from vaping at this time, given the likely alternative for many is a return to smoking?” the March letter asked. “Where is the evidence-based reasoning that advising adult smokers against vaping is appropriate for the protection of public health at any time, but especially during this COVID-19 crisis?”
Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that there’s no possibility vaping could be related to other health complications—just not covid-19. (Fortunately, Jezebel already canceled vaping back in December, so no matter what we’ll be on the right side of history.)