Study Shows Vaping Increases COVID Risks, Especially in Teens and Young Adults
November 6, 2020
In light of recent findings from a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University, public health advocates are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement tighter regulations overseeing the sale and use of e-cigarettes. The study found that young adults and teens that use e-cigarettes are five times more likely to contract COVID-19 as individuals in the same age group who do not use them.
What are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes go by many different names including vape pens, vapes, e-cigs, ENDS (or electronic nicotine delivery systems) and e-hookahs. These products are electronic devices that simulate the act of smoking tobacco but instead of inhaling smoke, the user inhales vapors. E-cigarettes are made with an atomizer, a power source, and a container that holds a tank or cartridge. Some manufacturers produce unsafe or defective vape pens, which can lead to user injury and even fires.
Manufacturers often tout e-cigarettes as the “safe” alternative to conventional tobacco products like cigarettes. But the reality is that e-cigarettes are also dangerous, with countless studies and reports documenting vape-related injuries that range from moderate to deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vape pens may offer some benefit to adult smokers who are looking for a complete substitute for regular cigarettes or other smoked tobacco products that they use, but they are NOT safe for pregnant women, youths, young adults, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
Vaping and COVID-19
Young people are generally considered lower risk for COVID-19. Why? Because most people who develop serious, potentially deadly complications are older individuals, like people age 65 and above or those with preexisting, chronic medical conditions. That said, e-cigarettes can cause a slew of respiratory issues and other major health problems in users, such as:
- COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lung cancer, lung injury, and lung disease
- Cardiovascular (or heart) disease
Not only does the Stanford study show how teens and young adults that use vape products are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than others, but it also documents how they are more likely to develop medical complications as a result. Young adults and teens who report using e-cigarettes in addition to conventional tobacco products were four to five times more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms like difficulty breathing, fever, fatigue, and coughing. They were also nine times as likely to be tested for the virus. The researchers behind the study hope these findings will encourage the FDA to implement more stringent regulations surrounding the sale of vape pens in addition to the creation of new rules to address the predatory marketing tactics of manufacturers trying to garner the attention of young and vulnerable consumers.
Stricter rules for the sale and marketing of e-cigarette products are proven to have positive outcomes. For example, just over three years ago Philadelphia put tighter regulations in place. The city capped tobacco permits at a certain amount and increased tobacco-licensing fees from $50 to $300. Philadelphia also enacted heftier fines and penalties for sellers who violated the new rules. As a result, the city observed a 20% reduction in tobacco retailers per capita and also saw a marked decrease in exposure for approximately 84,000 youth at 200 different schools. Making a positive impact on our country’s youth is of supreme importance, especially in light of the fact that approximately 30% of U.S. middle and high school students report using vape devices.
If you or a loved one experienced illness or injury associated with an unsafe vaping device, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, please contact a representative online now.
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