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Open AccessCommentary

Aerial Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus through Environmental E-Cigarette Aerosols: Implications for Public Policies

1
Institute of Nuclear Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico, 04510 Mexico City, Mexico
2
Myriad Pharmaceuticals Ltd., 1010 Auckland, New Zealand
3
Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR), University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041437
Received: 21 December 2020 / Revised: 27 January 2021 / Accepted: 29 January 2021 / Published: 3 February 2021
We discuss the implications of possible contagion of COVID-19 through e-cigarette aerosol (ECA) for prevention and mitigation strategies during the current pandemic. This is a relevant issue when millions of vapers (and smokers) must remain under indoor confinement and/or share public outdoor spaces with non-users. The fact that the respiratory flow associated with vaping is visible (as opposed to other respiratory activities) clearly delineates a safety distance of 1–2 m along the exhaled jet to prevent direct exposure. Vaping is a relatively infrequent and intermittent respiratory activity for which we infer a mean emission rate of 79.82 droplets per puff (6–200, standard deviation 74.66) comparable to mouth breathing, it adds into shared indoor spaces (home and restaurant scenarios) a 1% extra risk of indirect COVID-19 contagion with respect to a “control case” of existing unavoidable risk from continuous breathing. As a comparative reference, this added relative risk increases to 44–176% for speaking 6–24 min per hour and 260% for coughing every 2 min. Mechanical ventilation decreases absolute emission levels but keeps the same relative risks. As long as direct exposure to the visible exhaled jet is avoided, wearing of face masks effectively protects bystanders and keeps risk estimates very low. As a consequence, protection from possible COVID-19 contagion through vaping emissions does not require extra interventions besides the standard recommendations to the general population: keeping a social separation distance of 2 m and wearing of face masks. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID19; vaping; smoking; facemasks; risk analysis SARS-CoV-2; COVID19; vaping; smoking; facemasks; risk analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sussman, R.A.; Golberstein, E.; Polosa, R. Aerial Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus through Environmental E-Cigarette Aerosols: Implications for Public Policies. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1437. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041437

AMA Style

Sussman RA, Golberstein E, Polosa R. Aerial Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus through Environmental E-Cigarette Aerosols: Implications for Public Policies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(4):1437. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041437

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sussman, Roberto A.; Golberstein, Eliana; Polosa, Riccardo. 2021. "Aerial Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus through Environmental E-Cigarette Aerosols: Implications for Public Policies" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 4: 1437. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041437

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