As the pandemic continues, doctors have a better idea of who could suffer from COVID-19 and although kids and teens typically do well, they’re now finding those who have ever smoked cigarettes or e-cigarettes are seven times more likely to get the virus.
Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Lindy McGee with Harris Health System’s Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center in Pasadena and the Texas Pediatric Society said lung damage can happen right away when vaping. Plus, she said the chemicals irritate the lungs and can cause immediate effects on the cardiovascular system, which can lead to coronavirus complications, no matter how young and otherwise healthy the patient is.
“I’m absolutely concerned. Just logic will tell you there’s no way that doesn’t put you at increase risk for more severe disease,” Dr. McGee said.
She said one explanation on why these teens are catching the virus more frequently is because of the aerosol expelled when vaping.
“Most kids we know are not vaping alone. They are vaping in groups. Just being around someone who is vaping, if they have coronavirus, could increase their risks,” McGee said. “We also know kids tend to share their vaping devices, that also is not a good idea at this time.”
A study to conclude this increased risk was done on young people who vaped between 13-24 years old.
Dr. McGee said, socially the early “20-somethings” tend to act the same as pediatric patients and therefore have the same risks.
Some risk factors for teens vaping includes:
- Having parents who smoke or vape
- Misconception that it’s better than smoking
Even though the fear of the coronavirus may not interest them, Dr. Mcgee said to have a conversation about how vaping can hurt them.
“Saying that something can make you sicker so you won’t be able to participate in football, or be in a school play, that can give them immediate consequences,” Dr. McGee said, and that’s more relevant to teenagers than telling them they could get sick 50 years from now.
She also said to point out how advertisements are directed toward their age group and pay attention to your child’s social media accounts because they can get targeted with ads for vaping. Those ads cleverly market flavors, colors and phrases that teenagers are attracted to, Dr. McGee said by pointing out that manipulative ads are the bad guy (and not mom and dad) can make the devices less desirable.