As the deadly coronavirus is relatively new, researchers are still getting to learn a lot about this disease. Now a new study has found that youths may not be as safe from the deadly COVID-19 as thought earlier. The study conducted by the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF) found that a third of all young adults are now vulnerable to severe COVID-19 complications.
Researchers at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals studied data drawn from 8,400 men and women aged 18 to 25. The results reveal more than 30 percent of that age group have a “medical vulnerability” to coronavirus.
The impact of smoking surpassed other less common risks, the UCSF researchers reported in their study, which publishes in the Journal of Adolescent Health on July 13, 2020.
The researchers, led by first author Sally Adams, PhD, of the UCSF Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, determined vulnerability by referencing indicators identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Recent evidence indicates that smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 progression, including increased illness severity, ICU admission, or death,” said Adams. “Smoking may have significant effects on young adults, who typically have low rates for most chronic diseases.”
Recent research also shows that young adults are starting to smoke at higher rates than adolescents, a reversal of previous trends, she noted.
The study, which used data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that over the previous 30 days, 10.9 per cent had smoked a cigarette, 4.5 per cent had smoked a cigar product and 7.2 per cent had smoked an e-cigarette. The number of smokers – 1,664 or 19.8 per cent – was higher than the number of people with asthma (8.6 per cent), obesity (3 per cent) and immune disorders (2.4 per cent). Additionally, 1.2 per cent had diabetes, 0.6 per cent had a liver condition and 0.5 per cent had a heart condition.