Another Reason Young Adults Shouldn’t Smoke: COVID-19

Nearly a third of young adults are medically vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19—and smoking is the population’s strongest risk factor, CNN reports, citing a study published yesterday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Of 8,000 18-25 year-olds surveyed on underlying health conditions and smoking, 32% were “medically vulnerable,” to severe COVID-19, University of California, San Francisco researchers determined. That percentage dropped to 16% when smokers were removed from the sample.

“Recent evidence indicates that smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 progression, including increased illness severity, ICU admission or death,” says lead author Sally Adams, lead author of the study and a specialist at UCSF.

In the group of nonsmokers, women—who report more asthma and immune conditions—were at a higher risk. But higher rates of smoking in young adult men overrode this in the whole study population.

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