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Vaping is linked to a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults, according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Among young people who were tested for the virus that causes COVID-19, the research found that those who vaped were five to seven times more likely to be infected than those who did not use e-cigarettes.
“Young people may believe their age protects them from contracting the virus or that they will not experience symptoms of COVID-19, but the data show this isn’t true among those who vape,” said the study’s lead author, postdoctoral scholar Shivani Mathur Gaiha, Ph.D.
Data were collected via online surveys completed by 4,351 participants ages 13 to 24 who live in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories. Young people who had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, such as JUUL, in the previous 30 days were almost five times as likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms such as coughing, fever, tiredness, and difficulty breathing as those who never smoked or vaped.
The Stanford University study on vaping’s effects on COVID contraction has indisputably demonstrated how vaping linked to COVID-19 risk. Depending on what nicotine products they used and how recently they used them, young people who vaped or smoked, or both, were 2.6 to 9 times more likely to receive COVID-19 tests than nonusers. Those who had used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in the previous 30 days were 6.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Additionally, the study found that lower socioeconomic status and Hispanic or multiracial ethnicity were linked to a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease.
Furthermore, an article from the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education provides additional support for how vaping linked to COVID-19 risk is damaging toward young adults. As of April 28, 2020, there were 19 peer-reviewed papers that had data on smoking and vaping linked to COVID-19 risk and progression. The UCSF peer-reviewed meta-analysis of these papers found that smoking was associated with more than a doubling of odds of disease progression in people who had already developed COVID-19. These findings are particularly important as the case-mix of people getting COVID-19 is moving to younger people, likely due to reduced social distancing and lack of understanding of the dangers regarding COVID-related health issues on the age group as well as the dangers of vaping linked to COVID-19 risk.
The World Health Organization has also concluded that “smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compare to non-smokers” and explains how frequent vaping linked to COVID-19 risk by increasing the risk of heart, lung, and other organ diseases.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, posted an article on her blog that begins by noting “As people across the U.S. and the rest of the world contend with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the research community should be alert to the possibility that it could hit some populations with substance use disorders (SUDs) particularly hard. Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape.”
Reduce your risk of serious lung disease caused by coronavirus by quitting smoking and vaping. (2020, August 11). Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/reduce-your-risk-serious-lung-disease-caused-corona-virus-quitting-smoking-and-vaping
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July 07). COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/04/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders
News Center. (n.d.). Vaping linked to COVID-19 risk in teens and young adults. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020/08/vaping-linked-to-covid-19-risk-in-teens-and-young-adults.html
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