As COVID-19 spikes among young adults, research shows vaping is associated with catching coronavirus

Confirmed COVID-19 cases by age group as of Aug. 23, 2020. (Graph courtesy State Department of Health)

Recent state data show adults ages 20 to 39 represent a higher percentage of coronavirus cases than any other age group in the state. This comes as vaping among teens and young adults in our state has also skyrocketed, with nearly 30 percent of high school seniors saying they use vapor products. A new study shows young people who reported ever having used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than non-users.

“During the pandemic, people need to do everything possible to keep their lungs healthy. This means quitting e-cigarettes and tobacco,” said Kathy Lofy, MD, State Health Officer. “It is so important for people to take advantage of the free tools available to help them break the grip e-cigarettes and tobacco have on them.”

Teens and young adults who want to quit vaping or smoking can get access to several resources in Washington state. In January, the state Department of Health began offering This is Quitting, from Truth Initiative. This first of its kind, free teen-friendly texting program for quitting vaping, was created with input from teens and young adults who attempted or succeeded in quitting e-cigarettes. This is Quitting is tailored by age group to give supportive text messages and information about quitting vaping. To enroll, teens and young adults can text VAPEFREEWA to 88709.

DOH has also collaborated with 2Morrow Inc. to produce an app that helps participants learn how to deal with unhelpful thoughts, urges, and cravings caused by the nicotine in vapor products.

In August, the app became available in Spanish, a timely offering because people identifying as Hispanic or Latino/a have seen disproportionately high COVID-19 diagnoses.

Washingtonians age 13-plus can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to speak confidentially with a Quit Coach in English, Spanish, or receive support in more than 200 other languages.

To sign up for the app or find other tobacco cessation resources, visit


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