Recently a story began circulating about a research study involving a link between vapor cigarettes and MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus)—a strain of Staphylococcus Aureus that is highly resistant to most treatment methods available. The stories conclude that the act of vaping makes MRSA more virulent. While this may sound scary to those in the vaping community, many of these articles leave out that a person needs to have MRSA already and that the act of vaping alone does not cause the illness.

Rather than the act of vaping making MRSA more virulent, other researchers have concluded that it may be the fault of nicotine. Nicotine is a known anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. Both of these properties have the ability to suppress a user’s immune system. Therefore, both the nicotine found in tobacco and vapor cigarettes may have this potential. As of now, not enough research has been completed in order to make this claim definitively.

One reason why e-cigarettes may be getting the worst of these claims is that vapers have the potential to inhale two to 20 times more vapor (thus nicotine) than traditional smokers do. This leads to a dramatic increase in the intake of nicotine.

Vapor Cigarettes DO NOT CAUSE MRSA
While using an e-cigarette may be a catalyst that makes MRSA more resistant, it is a huge leap to say that vaping causes MRSA. You will not contract the pathogen by vaping – however, if you already have MRSA, there is a potential that it can become more resistant to treatment. In fact, while many publications will not include it, tobacco smoke makes MRSA even more drug resistant. In fact, in a study, 30% more mice died of pneumonia when exposed to tobacco smoke than from vapor.

Preventing MRSA
MRSA is a nasty disease – therefore, regardless of whether you vape or smoke, you should take care to prevent it. MRSA can be contracted through simple touch, so employ the same precautions you take to avoid the common cold. This may be more difficult because someone infected with MRSA may show no signs of infection. The best course of action is to treat anyone as though s/he have MRSA. The following steps can help you decrease your risk.

·Thoroughly clean your vapor cigarette with rubbing alcohol if anyone touches it. Don’t forget to clean your e-cigarette, mouthpiece and the inside of your tank with rubbing alcohol in between refills.

·Always wash your hands before eating, before and after touching your face or other part of your body.

·Be courteous and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. To be extra cautious, do so if someone near you coughs or sneezes.

·Don’t touch things in public.

·Do not rely on hand sanitizer, use soap and warm water to wash your hands.

Remember: there is no proven way to prevent MRSA, but good hygiene goes a long way toward doing so—along with helping to prevent other illnesses.

As long as you take precautions, there should be no reason that you cannot continue to enjoy vaping.