Last year, SF Advanced Health reported on the historic decision San Francisco made to ban e-cigarettes. You may or may not know, but San Francisco is home to Juul Labs, the e-cigarette company providing an alternative to conventional cigarettes … and the company responsible for a new public health crisis among our youth.
As a result of effective brand messaging, affordability, and availability, Juul’s popularity among teens has surged in recent years, even during a pandemic. At the time, the ordinance created national debate as to the potential benefits of vaping over smoking. Critics of the ruling claimed that restricting e-cigarette sales eliminated a smoking-alternative, creating a demand for more easily attainable cigarettes.
The end result was meek, especially on the federal scale. Undeterred by the ban, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong outlined Juul’s plans to promote new strict regulation and enforcement, instead of prohibition to include electronic age-verification technologies, limit the amount of product purchased in a single transaction, or implementing stricter control over permits for online sellers of vaping products. There are obvious loopholes one can jump through to gain access.
While the company is firmly against youth using its products (as Juul targets “adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products”), the truth is long-term health risks of vaping are not well documented. The other huge problem is teenagers and young adults who vape face a much higher risk of coronavirus COVID-19 infections than their peers who do not vape, according to a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine (Gaiha et al., 2020) it is the first to examine the connection between youth vaping and COVID-19 using U.S. population-based data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic.Among adolescents who were tested for the virus that causes COVID-19, the researchers found that those who vaped were five to seven times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and experience symptoms, such as coughing, fever, tiredness, and difficulty breathing versus those who have never used nicotine products.
Most parents are unaware that their kid may be using and/or are addicted to e-cigarettes. This is why EVERYONE needs to know that if they use e-cigarettes, they are at immediate risk of COVID-19 because they are physically damaging their lungs. Young people often think their age protects them from contracting the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus or that they will not experience serious symptoms. People also think if they vape or use cigarettes “once in a while”, they are not at risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. The data shows this is not true.
For example, if a person has used both cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days, they are 2.6 to 9 times more likely to receive COVID-19 tests than nonusers.
In addition to warning people about the dangers of vaping, researchers hope their findings will prompt the Food and Drug Administration to tighten regulations governing how vaping products are sold to young people. Now is the time for the FDA to hurry up and regulate these products.
Bottom line: If you vape, use cigarettes, and/or other nicotine products, you are a high risk for COVID-19 infection and other lung disease. If you are not but are either around or suspect those around you may be using nicotine products, this may also be the time to consider having an open and honest conversation about the risk for both themselves and their loved ones.
Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health.
Are you trying to quit smoking, or concerned about its health impacts? CONTACT US TODAY! Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns. We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plans. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.
Gaiha, S. M., Cheng, J., & Halpern-Felsher, B. (2020). Association Between Youth Smoking, Electronic Cigarette Use, and Coronavirus Disease 2019. Journal of Adolescent Health.