Vaping increases risk of COVID-19 among young adults

Vaping among young people is on the rise in Arizona, and a new study shows a startling risk of contracting COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults who use vaping products.

The Phoenix City Council is considering a city-wide ordinance to end the sale of many of those products. Dr. Cori Daines from the U of A’s Banner Medical Center shared more about the connection and how it is impacting this demographic.

The popularity of vaping has been growing for a few years. The CDC estimates that one out of ten kids are vaping or are actively vaping, starting with kids as young as 12-13 years old. That estimation goes up to one out of four when focusing on specifically high school students.

“People who smoke cigarettes, no matter what their age, are at a much higher risk of lung disease when they are infected with COVID-19,” Daines said. “[They] are more likely to end up in the hospital, have significant lung effects and end up having more morbidity.”

Additionally, Daines states that people who vape are more likely to develop a high addiction to the nicotine present in the vape liquid.

“It’s definitely an epidemic problem,” Daines said.

Daines shared about a Stanford telephone survey published in August of 2020 about vaping during the pandemic. Researchers found that if a person vaped, that person was more likely to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and be diagnosed with COVID-19.

“[These people are] five times as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 if you happen to be vaping or have ever vaped,” Daines said.

Daines explained that cigarette smokers, like people who vape, share a receptor in the lung tissue, the ACE2 receptor. This receptor is the target for viruses like COVID-19 and increases when you are infected with a virus.

 

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Dr. Cori Daines, U of A Professor

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