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Study finds vaping and COVID-19 are a volatile mix

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We've talked about the dangers of vaping for teens, but now researchers are finding the addicting trait has even more negative side effects.

The science and research has come to AU Health. Getting the students involved to stop a problem that is impacting many.

Any smoking is no friend to the lungs, and neither is COVID-19.

"Not only does it compromise lung health, it impacts a person's immune system," Christine O'Meara from the Georgia Cancer Center said.

O'Meara says vaping and COVID share a scary reality.

"Young people who use these cigarettes are five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19," O'Meara said.

New research out of Stanford shows 13 to 24-year-olds who vape are likely to experience symptoms. It even can cause and aggravate pre-existing conditions.

"It does suppress the immune system cells in the nose," O'Meara said.

This brings concern as school starts back. A 2019 CDC study showed 31 percent of high school students used a tobacco product in the past 30 days.

"This hand to mouth behavior with the use of e-cigarettes is also increasing opportunity for transmission of the virus," O'Meara said.

So on campus at AU, O'Meara is working with a communications class to create 30-second public service announcements that aim to convince e-cigarette users to quit by the end of the pandemic.

It's another effort to keep students safe while they learn how to learn with the risk of COVID.

Those student PSA videos will be produced in October, and likely used around campus as a way to keep it on their mind.

AU Health is also doing a weekly tobacco quitting program.

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