Young smokers twice as likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms as non-smokers

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jul 14, 2020, 01:04 PM(IST)

Smoking in times of coronavirus Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health explained how the risk of catching severe diseases is also dependent on one’s smoking habit

Countering previous claims of young being less susceptible to catching COVID-19, a new study has posited that one in three young adults are now at severe risk of contracting the virus.

The study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health also added how the risk of catching severe diseases is also dependent on one’s smoking habit. Earlier, scientists believed smokers are at a higher risk, but were also not sure of its direct impact, as much of the detail is still unknown.

Smoking a major factor

A survey was conducted by the National Health Interview Survey, whereby 8,000 participants between the age group of 18-25 were assessed based on the risk indicators carved out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These included smoking and health conditions. Researchers at the University of California looked at these assessments.

Also read: Air pollution significantly contributes to rise in coronavirus infections and deaths: Study

Out of the participants, over 32 per cent were vulnerable to developing a severe version of COVID-19. However, as soon as the researchers eliminated non-smokers out of the assessments, the risk of severity dropped by half, to 15 per cent.

In the smokers category, men are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms. Women, on the other hand, had a higher risk in the nonsmoker group.

The lead author of the study, Sally Adams, claimed that “smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 progression”, which could translate into severe illness.

Also read: US records nearly 60,000 new covid-19 cases in 24 hours: Report

Surprising racial inconsistency

Additionally, in terms of race, the researchers found a surprising detail. According to them, white young adults aged between 18-25 also had a higher risk of developing severe symptoms, which is inconsistent with earlier research suggesting that higher rates of COVID-19 and being a racial/ethnic minority were related.

Also read: Surge in deaths due to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria amid coronavirus pandemic: Study

"This suggests that factors other than the CDC's medical vulnerability criteria play a role in the risk of severe Covid-19 illness in the young adult population," the researchers said.

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