As of June 2020, more than 2.1 million people have been infected, and approximately 116,000 have died from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S., and the numbers continue to rise.
Both cigarette and electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use damage the respiratory system, potentially increasing the risk of experiencing COVID-19–related symptoms, a positive diagnosis and exacerbated health outcomes. A meta-analysis of studies mostly in China found that smokers were at elevated risk of COVID-19 progression compared with non-smokers. Hospitalizations in the U.S. show that factors such as obesity, male sex, and older age are associated with COVID-19. Although youth are at relatively lower risk of contracting COVID-19 compared with older adults, given the proportion of youth using e-cigarettes, youth e-cigarette and cigarette use may pose an important risk factor for COVID-19.
Currently, there are no U.S. population-based studies assessing the relationship between cigarette smoking, e-cigarette use, and COVID-19–related outcomes. In the absence of information on smoking and e-cigarette use history of youth diagnosed with COVID-19, we conducted a population-level examination of whether youth cigarette and/or e-cigarette use is associated with increased likelihood of experiencing COVID-19–related symptoms, being tested, and being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Shivani Mathur Gaiha, Ph.D. et al. – Journal of Adolescent Health – August 11, 2020.