DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – According to a new study out of Stanford University’s School of Medicine, vaping may be associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults.

That’s no surprise to Dr. Devika Rao, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Health and an assistant professor at UT Southwestern.

“Teens will vape with each other, they may share the same vape,” she said. “And when they’re doing that, they’re not keeping social distance. They’re not wearing masks.”

The chemicals in e-cigarettes can also lead to respiratory problems.

Dr. Rao continues to see devastating cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury, called EVALI.

“We had a lot of teens who were admitted with EVALI, in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dr. Rao.

She co-authored another recent study on vaping that shoes EVALI doesn’t just affect teenagers’ lungs.

“GI symptoms were just as prominent as respiratory symptoms, and this was pretty surprising,” Dr. Rao said.

Her research also found steroids were an effective treatment to resolve those GI issues and improve lung function. Dr. Rao hopes the study will help guide pediatricians, emergency room physicians, and family doctors.

“Whatever I can do to contribute to the medical data and literature that informs what they do in the exam room is definitely really important,” she said.

Dr. Rao recommends parents have a conversation with their kids about the risks associated with vaping. Many young people believe c-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes and don’t understand the long-term consequences.

Caroline Vandergriff

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