Doctors call for a tobacco and vaping ban in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic


Photo Debora Cartagena, courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The New York State Academy of Family Physicians is asking for a statewide ban of all tobacco and vaping products amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which would affect these users in larger numbers.

The New York State Academy of Family Physicians is calling for a ban of all tobacco and vaping products statewide due to the increased risk of COVID-19 in those who use tobacco. 

Based on a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one factor that influences the progression of COVID-19 is a person’s history of smoking. 

The study suggests that “patients who use tobacco are 14 times as likely to have COVID-19 progression.” According to The National Institute of Drug Abuse, this is because the coronavirus attacks the lungs, and people who vape or smoke tobacco are more susceptible to the virus becoming a serious threat. 

“Now more than ever, it is critical for the State and medical community to take actions to prevent our youth from ever using these highly addictive, deadly products and to help our patients to reduce their risks through FDA-approved cessation and telehealth during this pandemic,” says Barbara Keber, president of the group that represents more than 6,000 family physicians and medical students in New York. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken previous measures to cut down on vaping. In late February, Cuomo launched campaigns to ban flavored tobacco products, announced a texting program for those who want to quit vaping, launched a website with non-smoking resources and created hashtag #NoVapeNY.

“New York is leading the nation in confronting this new and deadly epidemic,” says Cuomo. 

The NYSAFP has supported the ongoing legislation to end the sale of flavored tobacco products and calls on Cuomo to consider their proposal in the budget.

“Bold, swift actions must be taken to protect our residents and we must follow the science which supports our call for a ban,” says Keber.