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Smoking/Vaping May Increase Complications of COVID-19

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
877-326-2583 (o), 502-552-3770 (m)

Emily Schott
Kentucky Medical Association

Joint Statement:
Smoking/Vaping May Increase Complications of COVID-19

(LOUISVILLE, KY – March 18, 2020) Now may be a good time to try quitting smoking or using e-cigarettes, because doing so might reduce the risk for complications from the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association said today. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the “coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape.”

“Smoking, vaping and certain drug use can compromise lung function, making it harder to fight off COVID-19 because it attacks the respiratory system,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “If you have been considering quitting, now may be an ideal time to quit so you can stop further lung damage. You’ll also protect those in your household by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosol as you spend more time at home during this crisis.”

“Decades of research has found that the flu and other infections tend to be much more serious in people who smoke,” said Dr. Brent Wright, president of the Kentucky Medical Association and chair of the Foundation’s board of directors. “Early research on e-cigarette use shows that vaping also causes respiratory system inflammation and damages lung tissue, reducing the ability to respond to infection. So it’s reasonable to conclude that vaping, like smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, could result in serious and perhaps life-threatening complications from this virus.”

Kentucky offers several resources to help people quit smoking and/or vaping, including:

Quit Now Kentucky, offers nicotine replacement therapy and counseling
1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) / Llame al 1-855-DEJELO-YA (855-335-3569)
Text QUITKY to 797979
Quit Now Kentucky

My Life, My Quit, a quit-vaping service for teens that provides coaching by text message, by phone, or by online chat
Call 855-891-9989
Text START MY QUIT to 855-891-9989
My Life, My Quit

This is Quitting, a free coaching service for those ages 13-24 to help them quit using e-cigarettes
Text KENTUCKY to 88709.

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About the Kentucky Medical Association
Established in 1851, the Kentucky Medical Association is a professional organization for physicians throughout the Commonwealth. The KMA works on behalf of physicians and the patients they serve to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable healthcare.

Members of the KMA share a mission of commitment to the profession and service to the citizens of this Commonwealth that extends across rural and urban areas. From solo practitioners to academicians to large, multi-specialty groups, KMA is the ONLY state association representing every specialty and type of medical practice in Kentucky.

About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $29 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at

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