*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Science Codex.
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.
The study, which will be published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is the first to examine connections between youth vaping and COVID-19 using U.S. population-based data collected during the pandemic.
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.
“Teens and young adults need to know that if you use e-cigarettes, you are likely at immediate risk of COVID-19 because you are damaging your lungs,” said the study’s senior author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, professor of pediatrics.
“This study tells us pretty clearly that youth who are using vapes or are dual-using [e-cigarettes and cigarettes] are at elevated risk, and it’s not just a small increase in risk; it’s a big one,” said the study’s lead author, postdoctoral scholar Shivani Mathur Gaiha, Ph.D.
Data were collected via online surveys conducted in May. Surveys were completed by 4,351 participants ages 13 to 24 who lived in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories.
Participants answered questions about whether they had ever used vaping devices or combustible cigarettes, as well as whether they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days. They were asked if they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, received a test for COVID-19, or received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 after being tested.
Among the participants who were tested for COVID-19, those who had ever used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 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.