Stanford scientists say popular activity for teens puts them at higher COVID-19 risk

Teens and young adults who vape could be more at risk of getting infected with COVID-19 than others who don’t, according to a new study

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine published a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, finding that there’s a correlation to increased COVID-19 cases in young people who vape compared to those who don’t.

The study, which collected data from more than 4,300 participants across the US, found that younger people who use e-cigarettes were five to seven times more likely to be infected compared to people who chose to not use the popular devices.

“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 show this isn’t true among those who vape,” postdoctoral scholar  Shivani Mathur Gaiha, PhD., also the study’s lead author, said in a press release.

“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.”

Participants in the study were asked to complete online surveys and answer questions about e-cigarette and vape usage. They were also asked if they had experienced any COVID-19 symptoms, in addition to whether they were tested for the virus. The research found that those who had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes over the past 30 days were five times as likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms compared to non-smokers.

For participants who were tested for the coronavirus, researchers said that vapers were five times more likely to get sick compared to non-smokers and nearly seven times more likely if you smoked both cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the past month.

Past studies have shown that vaping can bring on oddities to the human body. A study conducted by New York University found that e-cigarette usage can change the bacterial composition in one’s mouth, which increases the risk of inflammation and infection.

This isn’t the first study to look into vaping and COVID-19. An earlier study from the University of San Francisco found that smoking doubles the risk of young adults getting sick from COVID-19.