According to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, vaping among teenagers and young adults significantly increases their risk of testing positive for COVID-19. The research revealed that among the young people who were tested for the coronavirus, the ones who engaged in vaping were between five to seven times more likely to contract the virus than those who did not.
The Journal of Adolescent Health’s study, published in early August 2020, represents the first population-based examination of the linkage between the activity of vaping and the coronavirus in teenagers and young people across the nation. It surveyed more than 4,300 individuals aged 13 to 24 from every state in the Union, in addition to Washington D.C. and the three U.S. territories.
Results of the Stanford University study
The study sponsored by Stanford University on the relationship of vaping among young people to COVID-19 contraction conclusively shows the increased risk involved. Young people who used e-cigarettes, smoked regular cigarettes, or participated in both activities were anywhere from 2.6 to 9 times more likely to be tested for COVID-19 than non-users. The factors increasing or decreasing the likelihood included the type of nicotine products used and how recently they were used. Among those who were tested, young people who vaped at least once were five times more likely to receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Young people who used e-cigs and regular cigarettes over the previous 30 days were 6.8 times more likely to receive a positive diagnosis for the virus. The results of the study also indicated that Hispanic or multiracial ethnicity, in addition to lower socioeconomic status, were associated with a higher probability of receiving a coronavirus disease diagnosis.
The researchers at Stanford University hope that their findings, in addition to warning young people about the dangers of using e-cigarettes, also motivates the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to impose further restrictions on how vaping products may be marketed and sold to young people. The question must be asked as to whether the vaping industry is engaging in false advertising by failing to adequately warn its young users of the potential harm involved with its products.
According to the study’s principal author, postdoctoral scholar Shivani Mathur Gaiha, Ph.D., “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 shows this isn’t true among those who vape.”
Effect on the lungs from vaping
Over time, vaping can cause inflammation of the lungs. When the lungs are inflamed, they are more vulnerable to infections from bacteria and viruses. Damage to the lungs in combination with reduced immunity may significantly increase vulnerability to the COVID-19 infection. It is already established medical knowledge that individuals who smoke cigarettes for many years or even decades are more vulnerable to viruses and lung infections. Individuals who stop smoking normal cigarettes or using a e-cigarettes often notice a marked decrease in respiratory illnesses.
If insufficient warnings are given about vaping products, the question of product liability comes into play when serious injuries result from their use.
The data mentioned in the study clearly shows a connection between the practice of vaping and vulnerabilities to the coronavirus. Of course, additional research is needed to understand the link even better of how vaping can increase the risk and severity of contracting COVID-19.