According to new research from the Mayo Clinic, those who use electronic cigarettes and test positive for COVID-19 have a higher frequency of having COVID-19 symptoms when compared to people who do not vape.
Those who vape and test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to experience symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches and pains, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of the sense of smell or taste, according to the findings of the study, which was published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health.
Additionally, the study discovered that those who vape and also smoke tobacco, as well as those who test positive for COVID-19, complained of difficulty breathing and visited the emergency department more frequently than those who did not vape or smoke tobacco.
“The study was designed to compare the frequency of common COVID-19 symptoms such as loss of taste, smell, headache, muscle aches, and chest tightness in COVID patients who vaped versus those who did not vape,” says David McFadden, M.D., a Mayo Clinic internist and the study’s first author.
“We found that vaping was associated with a higher frequency of common COVID-19 symptoms.” “During the study, we questioned over 280 COVID-positive vapers and compared their results with those of 1,445 COVID-positive people of the same age and gender who did not vape.
The prevalence of all of these prevalent COVID symptoms was shown to be higher among people who use electronic cigarettes.”
The study participants were at least 18 years old and tested positive for COVID-19 at testing sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.
They were recruited from a variety of backgrounds. Age, gender, ethnicity, and race were all determined after which data was collected on COVID-19 symptoms, emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and a person’s lifestyle history, including vaping and smoking.
E-cigarette use has increased significantly over the past decade, particularly among high school students and young adults, despite the fact that the short- and long-term health consequences of using e-cigarettes are still unknown.
The use of e-cigarettes has increased significantly over the past decade, particularly among high school students and young adults.
Even while previous research has not discovered a link between using e-cigarettes and testing positive for COVID-19, the Mayo Clinic study discovered a link between vaping and having COVID-19 symptoms in those who test positive for COVID-19.
According to Robert Vassallo, M.D., Mayo Clinic pulmonologist and critical care specialist and study co-author, “There have been a number of studies that have shown that e-cigarette usage may be associated with inflammation in the lungs and may also cause severe lung injury in certain users, resulting in the development of a condition known as e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury.”
Despite the fact that our study was not meant to determine if e-cigarette usage enhances the likelihood of contracting COVID infection, the results clearly demonstrate that the symptom load in individuals with COVID-19 who vape is larger than in those who do not vape.”
The uncertainty surrounding the health effects of e-cigarette usage is due in part to the wide variety of devices available, as well as the substances in the vaping liquid and how they are used.
But despite these findings, the study found a statistically significant difference in symptom frequency between those who smoke and are positive for COVID-19 and those who do not vape.
Researchers discovered that the increased inflammation of lung tissue caused by COVID-19 infection, combined with the inflammation induced by vaping, may increase the likelihood of systemic inflammation, which is associated with an increase in symptoms such as fever, myalgias, fatigue, and headache.
As Dr. Vassallo points out, “during a pandemic involving a highly transmissible respiratory infection such as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), it is highly recommended to restrict or discontinue vaping and e-cigarette use in order to reduce the risk of increased symptoms and lung harm.”