Breaking News
More () »

Yes, COVID-19 can be transmitted through secondhand smoke

Scientists continue to study how the COVID-19 can spread through different avenues. One avenue scientists are studying is smoke.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We know the coronavirus can spread pretty easily, but scientists continue to study how the virus can spread through different avenues. One avenue scientists are looking into is smoke.


Ann sent us this question through our verify email, in part asking:

"I would like to know if COVID can be transmitted through secondhand smoke?"



COVID-19 does have the potential to spread through the droplets in secondhand smoke, but only if the smoker is infected with the virus. 


Johns Hopkins Medicine said because smokers take off their masks when they smoke in between puffs, they can spread the virus. 

Secondhand smoke isn't believed to directly spread the virus itself, but if a smoker is infected with COVID, they may blow droplets carrying the virus when they exhale.

"We know secondhand smoke or smoke in general what it does is it helps those aerosols to suspend and stay in the air, and we know that covid is transmitted through large droplets that fall to the ground as well as small aerosols that linger in the air," Dr. Kohli said. 

Dr. Kohli went on to say: 

"The cigarette smoke almost serves like a vehicle or a vector to carry those droplets potentially even farther and carry those aerosols farther," said Dr. Kohli. 

When speaking with the associated press, Dr. Rizzo said, "not only are they potentially spreading the virus by not wearing a mask; they are blowing those droplets to the people around them to potentially get infected."

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.