Letters to the Editor

Teen vapers at risk for COVID


On Tuesday, Aug. 25, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine published a study which confirmed that young people who use of e-cigarettes were five to seven times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than non-users.

According to NBC News, the study is the first national study of the connections between vaping and coronavirus in young people. It was based on surveys of over 4,351 participants ages 13 to 24 from throughout the country. In the study, young people who had ever used electronic cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with coronavirus, while those who had used both electronic cigarettes and regular cigarettes within the previous 30 days were 6.8 times as likely to be diagnosed with it.

“This is an important finding that shows that e-cigarettes are truly harmful to our health,” said Jefferson County Public Health Nurse, Chris Estle.

“Vaping among teenagers and young adults has become an epidemic,” said John Revolinski, Jefferson County Tobacco-Free Coalition coordinator. “In 2019, one in four young people surveyed nationally said they were involved in vaping. Surveys of teenagers in Jefferson County indicated the percentage vapers were even higher. 33% of local 11th-graders reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days in the 2018 Iowa Youth Survey.

According the articles on the NBC News website vapers may be at heightened transmission risk for several reasons. E-cigarettes can damage lungs and affect the immune system, making each coronavirus exposure more likely to trigger an infection. It is also possible that the aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes could transmit coronavirus.

“We need more research,” said nurse Chris Estle, but it is very clear that using e-cigarettes does more than put someone at risk It creates a public health risk.”

An online service developed specifically for teenagers and young adults who find themselves addicted to nicotine and would like help quitting is available at mylifemyquit.com.

John Revolinski