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New study finds teens who vape could increase their risk of contracting COVID-19

Vaping-related lung transplant performed at Detroit hospital
Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 16:04:21-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A new study shows that teens who use vaping devices or e-cigarettes could be at an elevated risk for contracting COVID-19.

"Maybe they have been in contact with contaminated surfaces or it's been a while since they washed their hands, then they bring a device to their mouth; there are many risks," said Dr. Danielle Lecky-Chadhuri with Pediatric Partners of Hampton Roads.

She says young people may think their age protects them from getting coronavirus, but that is not true.

"Smoking is going to increase receptors in the lungs lining that COVID and or other viruses like influenza can attach to and cause further inflammation," said Lecky-Chaudhuri.

A new study by Stanford University School of Medicine published in August found that teens were five to seven times more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms like coughing, fever, and shortness of breath compared to those who never smoked or vaped.

"Even the ones that are nicotine-free have been shown to have traces and small amounts of nicotine in them," she said.

Lecky-Chaudhuri says teens are more vulnerable to nicotine dependence.

"Certainly the younger they are, the brain is not matured, and that would increase sustainability to be addicted and dependent," she said.

Nicotine isn't the only danger of using e-cigarettes.

"We have seen injuries from burns, explosions, chemical injuries as well as nicotine exposure and overdose," she said.

Lecky-Chaudhuri recommends talking to your children about acute and long-term effects – perhaps listing reasons that would relate well to them.

"Maybe tell them they may not like the way their hair and my clothes smell and that they could be at an increased risk of staining their teeth or decreased athletic performance."

This story was first reported by Chelsea Donovan at WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia.