DETROIT – A new study is raising serious concerns that teenagers and young adults who vape are more likely to contract coronavirus (COVID-19).
Last year, long before the pandemic began, there was an outbreak of vaping-associated lung injuries that hospitalized and killed young people.
The rate of COVID-19 diagnoses among young people in American has been increasing, and some of that is likely linked to behaviors that increase the spread of the virus, according to experts.
From a lack of face coverings to a tendency to gather in groups, there are several actions that increase risk. A new report suggests e-cigarettes are another factor to consider.
Vaping might increase the risk of COVID-19 in young adults and teenagers, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
In May, researchers surveyed more than 4,300 people between the ages of 13 and 24 years old. They found that those who used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to non-vapers.
The risk for being diagnosed with the virus increased even more among people who had used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. Those who used both products within the previous month were more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms and receive testing.
The report couldn’t answer why young vapers are so much more at risk, but Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a senior author of the study, has theories.
“We know that adolescents and young adults share their vaping products with each other,” Halpern-Felsher said. “That absolutely increases your exposure to COVID-19. We also know the hand-to-mouth action could increase your risk just by touching and bringing COVID-19 into your mouth.”
Though more research is necessary to better explore the association, authors want to get the word out that e-cigarette use appears to increase the risk of becoming infected.
The study didn’t find a connection between COVID-19 diagnoses and smoking conventional cigarettes alone, nor did it draw any conclusion about whether e-cigarette use increased the severity of COVID-19 infections.