As we continue to battle COVID-19 almost a year into this pandemic, it finally feels like we’re starting to get enough information to begin to understand and react, rather than simply feel panicked by the unknown. While this virus is still very new, and we are still learning about it, there is enough information out there to give us an idea of who is more susceptible to being infected and diagnosed with coronavirus. You can also find great UK Vape Deals at various places around the internet.
It’s pretty widely known that the risk factors for being infected by COVID-19, and having a harder time recovering from it, include those who are of the older populations as well as those who have pre-existing conditions. In fact, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has put out guidance that those that are older or have preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, or cardiovascular disease are more susceptible to coronavirus. But what those who vape? Does vaping increase your chances of catching COVID-19?
Logically it makes sense that vaping might lead to someone being more susceptible to coronavirus. Since the disease’s most severe symptoms have to do with the lungs, any type of stress put on the lungs, like smoking or vaping, would probably make things worse. But while that seems to make sense, we really need to look at what the experts are saying.
What do studies show about vaping and COVID-19?
Since we’re not even one year into battling COVID-19, there isn’t a lot of research out there yet. However, there are some researchers and scientists that have been looking into the link between vaping and susceptibility to COVID-19. This is especially focused on younger populations because they are generally more likely to vape and have been told that they are less likely to struggle with the virus.
On August 11, 2020, Stanford researchers published a study online in the Journal of Adolescent Health stating pretty clearly that teenagers and young adults who vape have a higher risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 compared to those who don’t vape. In fact, the risk of infection for those who vape is about five to seven times higher than those who opt-out. The data used for this study was collected via online surveys in May of 2020 where 4,321 people between 13 to 24 who lived in the US participated and then got tested for COVID-19.
Younger populations believe that their age protects them from the virus and in many cases, this has shown to be true when compared to older populations. However, this isn’t the case for those who smoke e-cigarettes. The study’s senior author, professor of pediatrics Bonnie Halpern-Flesher, wanted to be clear that “Teens and young adults need to know that if you use e-cigarettes, you are likely at immediate risk of COVID-19 because you are damaging your lungs.”
Within the study, those who had said that they ever used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Those who had smoked both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in the last 30 days were 6.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. While the study doesn’t any report findings on smoking cigarettes alone, it’s believed that this is because traditional cigarettes aren’t as popular with younger adults as vaping is, and this study, in particular, was based on those between the ages of 13 to 24.
Lead researcher Shivani Mathur Gaiha, PhD, stated “This study tells us pretty clearly that youth who are using vapes or are dual-using are at elevated risk, and it is not just a small increase in risk; it’s a big one.” Not only does vaping increase the risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19, it can also increase the risk of the severity of the symptoms of COVID-19.
Why does vaping make people more at risk for COVID-19?
While the study discussed above gives plenty of evidence showing that, based on their research, the use of e-cigarettes increases your risk of COVID-19, what is it about vaping that increases the risk?
Irfan Rahman who runs the lab at the University of Rochester Medical Center may have found evidence as to why those who smoke and vape have a higher chance of contracting COVID-19 and experience symptoms with more severity. At the risk of getting a bit too scientific, Rahman states that those who smoke and vape often have higher levels of ACE2 receptors. ACE2 is a protein that sits on the surface of many types of cells. It’s crucial in regulating blood pressure, wound healing, and inflammation. COVID-19 fits nicely into the ACE2 receptor gaining access to the cell and allowing an infection to begin.
Basically, these receptors are what allows coronavirus to enter lung cells. So the theory is that if those who vape have more ACE2 receptors that means more viral load which leads to a more severe infection. So not only does vaping increase the chances of getting infected with COVID-19, but it also increases the severity of the virus inside the body making it harder to fight off. Ultimately, at this point we’re just working with what information we have as it comes in. Although all signs point to vaping making you more susceptible to coronavirus and increasing your chances of a more severe infection, there is more research and data coming out every day. If you do vape, remember that vaping doesn’t guarantee you’ll get infected just like not vaping doesn’t guarantee you won’t get it. As we push through the pandemic, it’s our hope that scientists and researchers will be able to find a true cure to COVID-19 in order to save lives and allow the world to get back to business as usual.