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Virginia Program to Reveal Link Between Vaping and COVID-19

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New research shows a strong correlation between vaping and catching coronavirus. (Adobe stock)
New research shows a strong correlation between vaping and catching coronavirus. (Adobe stock)
 By Diane Bernard, Public News Service - VA - Producer, Contact
September 3, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Vaping and cigarette smoking are significant risk factors for COVID-19, according to new research from Stanford University published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

And this month, a Henrico County, Virginia-based program for parents and teens will present important findings from the study.

The research surveyed youth between ages 13 and 24.

It reveals those who vaped regularly tested positive for COVID-19 five times more likely than those who never used e-cigarettes, according to Terrell Pollard, chair of Henrico Too Smart 2 Start, an education nonprofit that will be holding the presentation.

He said young people need to know how dangerous vaping is, especially now.

"Initially, electronic cigarettes were marketed as a healthy option," Pollard said. "And so by the time it was discovered that it wasn't, by that time a lot of youths were hooked. And so, people who vape are more susceptible to catch COVID-19 and once they caught COVID-19, then recovering is harder if they've been vaping."

Too Smart 2 Start will partner with the Virginia Department of Health, the American Heart Association and the Henrico School System for the program, which will be held the third week of September. For more information, go to Henrico Too Smart 2 Start's Facebook page.

The organization continually holds workshops to educate youths and their parents about health issues surrounding vaping and other drugs.

Ahmed Smith, a Henrico county high school student, attended a session in the spring. He said it raised his awareness about the serious side effects from the habit.

"When I learned about the lung problems that was coming from the companies of vapes, it really concerned me," Smith said. "When people started getting their lungs infected and they started going to the hospital, and it's like crazy, people are still advertising Juuls and vapes, and then people are in the hospital fighting for their lives because of their products."

Research shows that 3,500 young people start vaping every single day in the United States.

In addition to causing lung and heart problems, the level of nicotine in e-cigarettes also is dangerous for young people because it can harm the developing adolescent brain.

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