Even though it has been several months since the coronavirus outbreak started. Health experts are still in the process of learning more about how the virus works. So far, it appears that all are in agreement that personal protective equipment such as masks, google, and coveralls among others can help prevent its spread. Other medical researchers are likewise testing existing drugs that might turn out to be effective against COVID-19. Meanwhile as suggested at early stages of the pandemic, studies show that smoking and vaping can increase the risk of transmission.

The information has now been published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on its official webpage. While specialists have already established the dangers that tobacco -- and recently the chemical cocktail used by e-cigarettes -- bring about, it is being highlighted once again amid the coronavirus crisis. While the aforementioned activities do not directly cause infections, it can affect the immune function of the lungs.

In fact, the WHO likewise pointed out that the cardiovascular and respiratory effects of vaping, tobacco, and even cannabis can increase the likelihood of acquiring COVID-19. Another activity noted by healthcare specialists is the use of water pipes, which are conventionally smoked by groups in a public setting. As the public is encouraged to follow social distancing, this practice should be stopped for the time being.

Dr. Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine and the director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education answers some questions about smoking cannabis. While studies remain inconclusive regarding the effects of the recreational psychoactive drug on COVID-19, users are "probably" still at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

"Smoking doesn't cause the flu, vaping doesn't cause the flu. But people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke are more susceptible to getting sick," said Glantz. On the other hand, proponents counsel cannabis users who already have respiratory problems to switch to edibles instead for now. Therefore, it can be inferred that there are no exceptions when it comes to the coronavirus transmissions.

Box of Havana Cigars
A box of Cuban cigars as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales visit a paladar called Habanera, a privately owned restaurant on March 27, 2019, in Havana, Cuba. (Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images)

COVID-19 is far from being under control as even the countries with the most advanced medical capabilities are unsure of when the crisis will end. Experts are currently hard at work developing treatments that are effective against this pandemic.