Vaping Heightens COVID-19 Risk

People sit in New York City's Bryant Park as the city moves into Phase 3 of reopening. July 14, 2020. Image: Noam Galai/Getty
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People sit in New York City's Bryant Park as the city moves into Phase 3 of reopening. July 14, 2020. Image: Noam Galai/Getty

Young Americans who vape were up to 7X more likely to receive a COVID-19 diagnosis than non-vapers, according to a national online survey by Stanford researchers.

The survey of 4,351 young people ages 13–24 found that a COVID-19 diagnosis was 5X more likely among those who had ever used e-cigs than those who hadn’t and 7X higher among those who had ever vaped and smoked cigarettes, according the Journal of Adolescent Health article published yesterday.

“We were surprised,” senior author and Stanford pediatrics professor Bonnie Halpern-Felsher told NBC News. “We expected to maybe see some relationship ... but certainly not at the odds ratios and the significance that we're seeing it here.”

Possible reasons for the increased risk include e-cigs’ effects on lungs and the immune system as well as transmission via shared e-cigs. 

If the data hold up, the risk is significant: Last year, a US FDA report noted that 5 million youth reported vaping in the previous 30 days.
 

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