Vaping linked to increased COVID-19 risk among young people

Vaping and e-cigarettes are associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young people, it has been revealedVaping and e-cigarettes are associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young people, it has been revealed.

This is according to a new study headed up by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Among those who were tested for the virus, the study found young people who vaped were five to seven times more likely to be infected.

Additionally, it also found those of lower socioeconomic status and Hispanic or multiracial ethnicity were linked to a higher risk of diagnosis.

Vaping poses big risk

‘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 shows this isn’t true among those who vape,’ said Shivani Mathur Gaiha, the study’s lead author.

‘This study tells us pretty clearly that youth who are using vapes or are dual-using are at elevated risk. It’s not just a small increase in risk; it’s a big one.’

Data was collected via online surveys in May from more than 4,300 participants aged 13 to 24.

Questions included whether they had ever used vaping devices or combustible cigarettes. They were also asked whether they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days.

Additionally, they were asked if they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, received a test for COVID-19 or received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 after being tested.

Severe complications

This comes as research shows gum disease is linked to severe coronavirus complications. 

Better protection against inflammation from gum disease can potentially protect the public against life-threatening respiratory complications, it has been suggested.

The study looked at the IL-6 protein, a harmful inflammatory that is spread through the body by bacteria in the gums. High levels of IL-6 is a predictor for respiratory failure, carrying a 22 times higher risk for respiratory complications.

Dental hygienist and therapist Karenn Helmrichne Davila believes dental teams are well placed to combat the virus.

‘Oral hygiene coaching plays a major role in the management of periodontal diseases. It also lessens the development of severe symptoms from COVID-19 infection,’ she said.

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