Forum: Keep smokers farther away from others during Covid-19 pandemic

Smokers are allowed to lower their masks for extended periods while smoking.

I would like to understand the official logic and science behind allowing this to happen while the rest of the population needs to mask up and maintain social distancing during this Covid-19 pandemic.

As a researcher in the semiconductor industry, I have a background in particle sizes and detection, as contamination is a big issue in the sector.

While observing maskless smokers during an evening run, I noticed I could smell their cigarette smoke from quite a distance away. I was intrigued about how it could be safe in terms of viral transmission, when I could smell the smoke from at least 4m away.

Cigarette smoke particle sizes range from 0.1 micron to one micron. Coughs can generate droplets from 0.1 micron to 900 microns in size, with the majority of viral transmission occurring with particles less than one micron in size.

Note the significant overlap between cigarette smoke particle size and the size of droplets that cause viral transmission. Particles of the same size travel similar distances in airstreams.

Therefore, if I can smell the cigarette smoke, I should also be at risk of being infected by a viral droplet.

So, shouldn't smokers be made to isolate themselves more as they can potentially infect a lot of people when they smoke?

The act of pulling down the mask and blowing smoke does not prevent the spread of the virus in any way.

Arpan Roy