Teenagers and young adults who vape may be up to seven times more likely to catch coronavirus, a study has found.
Researchers, who surveyed 4,351 Americans aged 13-24 years in May, found those who had used both e-cigarettes and cigarettes were seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
Those who had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days were 4.7 times more likely to experience symptoms of the illness compared with those who never smoked or vaped.
Among people tested for coronavirus, those who used just e-cigarettes were five times more likely to test positive for the disease.
Study leader Shivani Mathur Gaiha said: “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.”
Teenagers and young adults who vape are at greater risk of catching coronavirus, according to the study
Those involved were asked if they had ever used vaping devices or combustible cigarettes, whether they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days, and if they had experienced coronavirus symptoms, been tested for it or been diagnosed with the disease.
The results of the study by the Stanford University School of Medicine were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Tuesday.
Researchers pointed out that the study does not prove vaping causes coronavirus but that it involves the repeated touching of hands to the mouth and face, which is associated with the spread of the illness.
In addition, vapers’ lungs may have been damaged by the nicotine and other chemicals in e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, the team said.
The researchers hope their findings will prompt the US government to effectively regulate e-cigarettes during the coronavirus pandemic.