Kalia Richardson, The Independant Alligator
“Let's all be realistic. We all know [smoking and vaping] damages your lungs; it doesn't do you any good,” said UF philosophy major Bryan Berlioz, who used to smoke disposable vape. “So, I wanted to limit my chance of my body failing.”
As reported by the Independant Alligator, The Journal of Adolescent Health conducted a study with college-aged individuals and analyzed their susceptibility to COVID-19. Smokers, including e-cigarette users, are twice as likely to be vulnerable to complications from the virus, according to the findings.
“Not a lot of college students have heart disease, for example, or have had a heart attack. So, smoking either cigarettes or e-cigarettes is going to be the biggest issue for them in terms of making them susceptible to pneumonia, viral infections, things like that,” said UF assistant professor of medicine Dr. Eric Papierniak.
“In general, people who smoke have more heart disease and more lung disease. So, they tend to do worse. Those things can start relatively early on, especially if you start smoking at an early age,” Papierniak said.
Dr. Judy Lew, a former UF clinical associate professor in the department of pediatrics with a subspecialty in pediatric infectious disease, said that the correlation between COVID-19 and vaping was unsurprising because both are tied to lung damage.
“Not surprising since using cigarettes and e-cigarettes are known to potentially damage the lungs and so can Covid,” Lew wrote in an email to the Alligator.
In a similar study conducted by the European Respiratory Journal, nicotine in vaping products increases the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) in cells. The ACE-2 receptor acts as a “binding site” for the coronavirus to enter and infect human cells. This puts e-cigarette users at greater risk of contracting the virus.
“As a pulmonologist, it’s my mission in life to get people to not smoke. I think that even if we weren’t in a pandemic, I would strongly encourage people not to smoke,” Papierniak said. “In the situation we are in now, I think that anything that you could do or not do in order to make yourself less risky to get really, really sick from serious disease is something you should very strongly consider doing.”
Read the Full Article Study finds college e-cigarette users more susceptible to COVID-19 here.