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Report: 1 in 3 young adults at severe risk for coronavirus, smoking is major factor

New research published Monday in the Journal of Adolescent Health indicated one in three young adults is at risk of severe COVID-19, and smoking is a major factor.
(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 7:09 PM EDT
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(WVLT/CNN) - New research published Monday in the Journal of Adolescent Health indicated one in three young adults is at risk of severe COVID-19, and smoking plays a big part in the risk.

According to CNN, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, looked at more than 8,000 participants aged 18 to 25 who were part of the National Health Interview Survey to see about their vulnerability to severe COVID-19 and if it had a relation to risk indicators set out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including health conditions and smoking habits.

The researchers said they found 32 percent of the total study population were medically vulnerable for severe coronavirus; however, when the group who smoked cigarettes or e-cigarettes was taken out of the analysis, the percentage of medically vulnerable dropped to 16 percent.

"The difference between estimates is driven largely by the sizeable portion of young adults who reported that they engaged in past 30-day smoking (1 in 10) and past 30-day e-cigarette use (1 in 14)," the report said. "By contrast, relatively fewer young adults reported medical conditions identified by the CDC as conferring severe illness risk."

CNN reported that, per the research, young adult men were at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 among the whole study population. Though more women reported having asthma and immune conditions, higher rates of smoking in men overrode that. However, looking at just the nonsmokers, women had a higher risk.

"Recent evidence indicates that smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 progression, including increased illness severity, ICU admission or death," said Sally Adams, lead author of the study and a specialist at University of California, San Francisco's National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center, in a press release. "Smoking may have significant effects in young adults, who typically have low rates for most chronic diseases."

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