Courtesy of San Benito County:
Teens and young adults who vape are far more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those who don’t, a new study by Stanford researchers found. A young person who has vaped and smoked cigarettes is seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the study published today in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Someone who only vaped is five times as likely to get diagnosed.
“We should be concerned about vaping as we try to get the ongoing pandemic under control and as the number of younger people testing positive grows,” stated San Benito County Interim Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci. “Young vapers’ vulnerability to COVID-19 should inform how regulators address the popularity of e-cigarettes,”
The proportion of young people getting infected with COVID-19 has recently risen dramatically, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Out of the six million people with the disease globally, the percentage of those aged 15 to 24 has tripled from 4.5% to 15% in four months. According to the San Benito County Dashboard, 13.7% of those testing positive are 17 years or younger, which is considerable higher than the state positivity rate of 9.5% for the same age group.
A young person’s likelihood of getting sick is largely due to the way vaping affects the lungs or immune system — or vapers may be more exposed to COVID-19 for other reasons. Traces of the virus may be released through be in the plume of smoke. People who vape tend to share devices and touch their faces more as they puff, the study notes.
Researchers have suspected that vaping would lead to long-term health effects. What this study changes, is that there actually can be short term health effects to vaping as well.
“I don’t think anybody will be shocked at the results. I think people will say we saw this coming,” stated Dr. Ghilarducci. “This is a pandemic … this is the time for you to quit and not start vaping,” he says.
Health officials are calling for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes and do outreach with teens on the link between vaping and COVID-19 as the pandemic continues to grow in the US.