TAMPA (WFLA) – When it comes to coronavirus cases, a lot of the focus has been on seniors. But younger people are getting increasingly sick at an unexpected rate.
8 On Your Side Investigates whether the popularity of vaping is putting teenagers at a greater risk.
“I think most moms think my kids’ not doing it,” said Barbara Burnes.
But Burnes says her sons were vaping.
Right now, as the coronavirus pandemic grips Florida, Burnes is concerned about the long-term impact of e-cigarettes on her children’s health.
“Are you curious whether that increases their risk for getting seriously sick?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“It literally, it’s haunted me,” said Burnes. “If they get it…if they get this thing, are their lungs already compromised?”
“COVID-19 enters into the body through the lungs and elicits a huge immune response,” said Sami Noujaim, Ph.D.
Noujaim is an Associate Professor at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Noujaim has been studying the effect of vaping on cardiac function in mice.
“Experiments that we can conducted in the laboratory have clearly shown that vaping is bad for heart,” he said.
Noujaim’s finding that vaping compromises cardiac function is relevant it is believed those with heart issues face an increased risk for coronavirus complications.
But what about the lungs? We know COVID-19 attacks your respiratory system and while research is limited, Noujaim says there’s reason to be concerned about the impacts of vaping on the lungs.
“Vaping could effect the lungs and could effect the immune system and could effect the heart,” he said.
“Even if the person is young and gets infected with COVID-19, they might show very, very bad symptoms.”
Also, when you’re vaping, you’re constantly touching your mouth to use the product.
That increases the spread of this virus.
Officials in Massachusetts have released a health advisory urging people to stop smoking and vaping.
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