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.”
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.
More from Covid-19
Coronavirus: £90m insurance payout for COVID-19 death claims at pandemic’s peak
Coronavirus: Fears over dog smuggling as lockdown puppy prices rise by up to 89%
Just Eat to create ‘thousands’ of jobs in UK after surge in revenue
Care home closures: The casualties of COVID-19
Coronavirus: Children made up just 1% of COVID-19 cases in England in first peak – study
Coronavirus: Shielding teens reunited with heartwarming marriage proposal
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.