Health & Studies

COVID, Smoking, and Vaping

Doctor Riccardo Polosa and Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos speak about smoking, vaping, nicotine, the ACE2 enzyme and COVID-19 at the Global Forum for Nicotine

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At this year’s online Global Forum for Nicotine, Doctor Riccardo Polosa spoke about smoking, vaping and COVID-19. His presentation was accompanied by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos speaking on the role of nicotine and its relationship with the viral pandemic and the ACE2 enzyme.

Riccardo Polosa is the founder of the Centre of Excellence for the acceleration of HArm Reduction (CoEHAR - University of Catania, Italy). Dr Polosa is Full Professor of Internal Medicine for the same University and Director of the Centre for Smoking Prevention and Treatment at the University Hospital "Policlinico-V. Emanuele” of Catania. Dr Polosa and the CoEHAR team of researchers conduct several high-profile clinical and behavioural research in the field of smoking-related diseases. According to a bibliometric analysis, Professor Polosa is considered the most productive scientist in the world in the field of electronic cigarette research.

When I was tasked by the GFN Scientific committee to deliver a talk on COVID-19 and smoking, I said to myself: ‘This is cool, this is going to be a piece of cake.’ We all know that smoking is detrimental to bacterial and viral infections of the respiratory tract.”

But how wrong I was.”

Riccardo found himself swinging backwards and forwards as new information came to light. He elaborates as he presents “Smoking, vaping and COVID-19: what does the science tell us?”

Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, M.D., is a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens-Greece, at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Patras-Greece and at the National School of Public Health-Greece. He has been conducting laboratory and clinical research on e-cigarettes as a principal investigator since 2011. Examples of his work include the first study on the cytotoxic effects of e-cigarette vapor on cultured cells and the immediate effects of e-cigarette use on cardiac function and coronary circulation. As of late 2019, he has published more than 80 studies and articles in international peer-reviewed scientific journals about tobacco harm reduction. He has been recognized as one of the world's most influential researchers of the past decade by Web of Science, receiving the Highly Cited Researcher 2019 recognition.

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos piggybacked on Polosa’s presentation by talking about “Unforeseen circumstances”. In his talk he spoke about the apparent interplay between nicotine, COVID-19 and the ACE2 enzyme.


  • Global Forum for Nicotine – [link]
  • GFN20 on YouTube – [link]

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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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