Electronic cigarettes are unlikely the cause of the COVID-19 pneumonia, Chinese experts said, while the true origin of the virus that has killed more than 2,800 people remains unclear.
"The electronic cigarettes are hardly related to the virus. It is not likely to be the reason that caused the COVID-19 deaths," Zhou Zijun, a professor at Peking University's School of Public Health, told the Global Times on Saturday.
Some online self-media have been connecting the COVID-19 epidemic to the rise in e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the US late last year.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Friday, a total of 2,807 people have been killed by EVALI in the US. "The sharp rise in symptoms or cases of the EVALI took place in August 2019 and peaked in September 2019," a report on CDC website said.
"It is very possible that the EVALI could be the first outbreak of the COVID-19," read an article on donews.com, a Chinese technology website. The article indicated EVALI and COVID-19 pneumonia share some similar symptoms.
However, Zhou noted that electronic cigarettes could hardly cause the spread of the virus. "It could be some elements added in the e-cigarettes that could cause pneumonia deaths, but it should be irrelevant to the virus."
Guokr, a Chinese popular science website, said the pathogen detection of the EVALI and COVID-19 are different. Moreover, no evidence has shown that EVALI is infectious, while the COVID-19 pneumonia is obviously an infectious disease.
Pan Hwai-tzong, a pharmacologist in Taiwan, also slammed the connection in a recent TV show. He said that studies have found e-cigarettes not related to lung diseases.