Dr. Jose De Olazabal of PBGMC interviewed on WPTV NewsChannel 5 on the concern vaping can have on contracting COVID in teenagers

Aug 26, 2020

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — "We're in the middle of a pandemic, but you gotta remember, before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a vaping epidemic in this country," Dr. Jose Deolazabel, a pulmonologist at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, said.

"Disturbing" is how he described a new study from Stanford University about young people who vape and the correlation with COVID-19.

"It's really a disturbing article with some disturbing data," Deolazabel said.

Researchers looked at the connection between COVID-19 and vaping in young people ages 13 to 24.

"I have read reports of kids getting admitted with vaping-related conditions and that later turn out to be COVID-19 positive," Deolazabel said. "That's why this data is really scary."

The study found those who vape are between five and seven times more likely to be infected with COVID-19.

"It's a pretty significant high-increase risk than if you hadn't used any electronic cigarette," he said. "We do know that the vaping damages the lungs, so by inflaming the lungs, it does make you more susceptible to viral infections."

Deolazabel said there's more to it.

"With vaping, kids tend to share it," he said.

The information is also concerning for parents of teenagers.

"I think that there aren't any moms (who) like their kids vaping already," Melody Rodriguez, who is connected to other moms in social media groups, said.

She said many moms are already stressed.

"From talking to some other moms, they're having a really hard time keeping their teenagers social distancing, so to add to that vaping, which is something you don't do with your mask on," Rodriguez said.

Doctors warn vaping could make you even more of a carrier, putting others at risk.

"If you're more likely to get COVID-19 infection if you're vaping, then by definition, you're more likely to spread it," Deolazabel said.

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