April 29, 2020 4 min read

Does Nicotine Block COVID-19 Receptors?

As early as January, harm reduction advocate Eliana Golberstein Rubashkyn from New Zealand suggested that nicotine could help prevent infection from COVID-19. Nicotine was shown to bind with receptors that the virus typically latches on to. In layman’s terms, the receptors that serve as entry points into our system for the virus are already closed due to it already bound to by nicotine. This is basically the nicotine telling the virus to bug off because he got to the entryway first.

A couple of months later, Konstantinos Farsalinos published a preliminary study that raised the question of why there was a low number of smokers who were admitted with COVID-19 in China when a large percentage of the population smokes. Add to that the other comorbidity factors that come with smoking, they were expecting a lot of smokers to get hit with the virus, but the opposite happened..

 “Those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try to quit and quit successfully than those who do not use e-cigarettes.”

Nicotine E-Juice, No Longer Taboo

The smoking prevalence in males in China is about 50%, or half of the male population smokes. Five different studies have shown that only 3.9% to 14.5% of males that were admitted with the virus were smokers. To those who know their statistics, this is an extremely low number considering that smokers are more likely to get hit with the common cold or other respiratory illnesses.

In the following weeks, this finding was repeated all over the world with hospitals all over reporting that there were fewer smokers admitted with the disease than what was statistically expected.

While there are no direct studies (so far) that study the effects of vaping nicotine vape juice has on prevention of the virus, it is worth noting that vaping is already recognized as an alternate nicotine delivery system. In fact, you can read all about how the RACGP is already recommending nicotine vape juice as a way to stop smoking here.

"Start of Large-Scale Studies for Nicotine Vape Juice"


In a landmark move, France has temporarily limited the sale of commercially available NRTs or Nicotine Replacement Therapies to prevent hoarding and excessive consumption. The reason for this is that La Pitié-Salpêtrière, the largest medical and research complexes in Europe, has announced clinical trials to see whether nicotine does indeed protect the body from getting infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Now, this is not in any way an endorsement by the French research for people to smoke but rather on how nicotine can serve as a prophylactic against the virus until a true vaccine is developed.

While the actual methods for the study have not yet been published, it is safe to assume that vaping and nicotine vape juice will be one of those delivery systems that will be tested as it is already recognized as a viable NRT in Europe and other parts of the world. This will be the validation that vaping needs to be recognized worldwide as a safer alternative to smoking.

What is Vostesyl? Is it a miracle cure?


Some articles have come out about a drug called Vostesyl that supposedly kills the virus if inhaled through a special device. Guess what? That “drug” is basically propylene glycol (or PG) with nicotine added to it. And the special device? An e-cigarette with an atomizer. It’s amazing how things can be packaged differently and can be supported by the same medical industry that so demonizes vaping.

This is actually a good development for vaping because if clinical studies of Vostesyl are successful then the safety and endorsement of vaping and nicotine vape juices could follow right on its heels.

US FDA Defends Vaping, no evidence Linked to COVID-19 Infections

Anti-vaping and anti-smoking groups, who have previously had free rein on their anti-vaping propaganda against vaping and nicotine vape juice finally received pushback from the US FDA a couple of weeks ago. The FDA told Bloomberg News that vaping increases the risk for COVID-19 is still unknown. This is totally divergent from what the press and other anti-vaping organizations have been pushing in the past few weeks leading up to the statement.

Is this the FDA covering its bases in line with the French testing? Or are they finally conducting their own tests with nicotine vape juice to see whether nicotine truly does prevent infection with the virus? This softening of their stance of vaping is seen as a step in the right direction by all of the concerned stakeholders.

Another organization, The Science Media Research Center, has also stepped up in defense of vaping and nicotine vape juice by stating that, “There is no evidence that vaping increases the risk of infection or progression to severe conditions of COVID-19.” In fact, Dr. Caitlin Notley from the same organization adds that since switching to vaping from smoking improves overall cardiovascular health and respiratory conditions, those smokers who switch to vaping have a better prognosis than those who don’t switch if they ever get infected by the virus.

Cold Turkey doesn’t work and why nicotine vape juice is a must

While the hardest-hit countries in Europe are in full lockdown, vape shops in those places are still open and considered as an essential service. Vape shops in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and France remain open despite being under very strict lockdown conditions because nicotine addiction is a true public health issue especially when linked with cigarettes. This just means that these governments acknowledge the fact that vaping and nicotine vape juice is a truly safer alternative for smoking. In this time of crisis, people will still smoke, and there is still the need for them to have access to safer alternatives.

While the studies are still ongoing to determine whether nicotine truly does help prevent infection with COVID-19, it is a well-known fact that smoking can cause health issues that may affect the prognosis if you get infected.

Keeping Vape Shops open is an acknowledgment that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget about the real and present danger that smoking tobacco presents. Even if it is proven that nicotine does indeed help prevent infection with the virus, it should be delivered in a way that is safe and adds no new problems to the equation. And that method? Vaping and Nicotine Vape Juice, of course.

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