Are Younger Smokers At a Greater Risk of Severe COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly difficult for many Americans. The virus has been shown to be especially dangerous for older people and those suffering from certain pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Younger people tend to be less susceptible to COVID-19, although they can still have severe symptoms. Certain health and lifestyle factors can put younger people at a greater risk. 

Many young adults have believed that they were not at risk of COVID-19. They have fallen into a false sense of security since CDC data shows older people are at a greater risk. 

Adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are 87.5% less likely to be hospitalized and 99.5% less likely to die of COVID-19 then adults between the ages of 75 and 84. However, there are a couple of reasons that these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt: 

  • These are baseline averages for everybody in these age groups. The data is more nuanced after you take other health factors into consideration. 
  • The likelihood of being hospitalized or dying are not the only concerns to take into account. Some people never need to be hospitalized, but still face the risk of serious long-term health problems. 

Smoking appears to be one of the factors that puts everybody at a higher risk factor of contracting COVID-19, regardless of age, race, gender, or other risk variables. This is a good reason that smokers should quit or at least shift to tobacco alternatives like Black Buffalo

How Does Smoking Affect Young Adults’ Prognosis After Getting Covid-19? 

Smokers have become more anxious about their health risks during COVID-19. They might be wondering whether or not they have it puts him at a greater risk. 

It is still too early to determine the exact risk calculus with any degree of certainty. Since COVID-19 is a new virus, there is still a lot of information that we don’t know about it. Medical experts are still collecting data and conducting studies to develop deeper insights. However, the growing body of research shows that smoking does increase health risks for younger people that have contracted COVID-19.

Back in May, the World Health Organization reported that there were no peer-reviewed studies linking smoking with an increased risk of severe symptoms among COVID-19 patients. However, the WHO warned that it was strong anecdotal data proving COVID-19 was a serious concern.

More recently, various publications have discussed the increased health risk for smokers. The University of California San Francisco released a study showing that young adults that smoke are twice as likely to have serious complications from COVID-19 as non-smokers in the same age group. This study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health on July 13. Furthermore, the authors point out that smoking is the most serious health risk for young adults diagnosed with COVID-19.

This was not the first study by the University of California showing that smoking elevated health risks for COVID-19 patients. Back in May, another study found that smokers were almost twice as likely to have health problems after getting diagnosed with COVID-19. The study conducted in May focused on the broader population, while the more recent study analyzed young adults. However, the correlation was clearly the same in both studies.

There are several reasons that smoking appears to worsen the symptoms of COVID-19. These factors include the following: 

  • Smoking impairs respiratory function. The COVID-19 virus attacks the lungs, so patients are most likely to suffer complications due to respiratory problems. If the lungs are already compromised from long-term smoking, then respiratory issues will likely be more severe. 
  • Smokers are at a higher risk of having infections in the respiratory tract. Patients with respiratory infections could be in much greater danger if they are exposed to the COVID-19 virus. 
  • Smokers could be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 in the first place. They have to remove their masks if they plan to smoke in a public area. They also need to bring their hands to their face to smoke, which is another serious risk factor. 

Additional research is necessary to affirm the findings in these two studies. However, epidemiologists suggested that the conclusions seem reasonable in the absence of peer-reviewed analysis.

Young Smokers Should Try To Quit During The Covid-19 Crisis 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been excruciatingly painful for people all over the world. Over 150,000 Americans have died after contracting the virus. Smokers are even more likely to have severe health problems, even if they are relatively young and otherwise healthy. Young adults that smoke should seriously consider trying to quit. If the existing research is accurate, then they will reduce their likelihood of severe complications by half.