University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Electronic Vaping Product Use Among Adolescents in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Updated Scientific Review for Clinicians

Pravesh Sharma, MD; Taharat Sheikh; Christopher Williams, MD

WMJ. 2021;120(3):205-208.

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Introduction: In light of increased rates of hospitalizations among adolescents diagnosed with severe symptoms of COVID-19, as well as the prevalence of electronic vaping product (EVP) use among this population, this review highlights the public health and clinical implications of EVP use during an ongoing respiratory disease pandemic.

Objectives: This review assesses evidence of pulmonary effects of EVP use from pathophysiological and epidemiological research and explores EVP use as a risk factor for COVID-19.

Methods: An updated, yet concise, literature review of recent scientific evidence examining trends of EVP use among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic was conducted. Included in this review are studies examining the pulmonary effects of EVP use and scope of the problem relating to its use among adolescents within the context of COVID-19.

Conclusions: Preclinical and theoretical models establish pulmonary harm associated with EVPs. Based on the limited epidemiological studies, the contribution of EVP use to the risk of contracting COVID-19 is mixed. EVP-associated lung injury could present as a diagnostic challenge for clinicians during COVID-19 and requires greater attention. Clinicians should effectively screen for and discourage EVP use among adolescents.

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (Sharma); Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (Sheikh); Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (Williams).
Corresponding Author: Pravesh Sharma, MD, Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire, 1221 Whipple St, Eau Claire, WI 54703; phone 715.838.5369; email
Financial Disclosures: Dr Sharma receives research funding and support from Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System.
Funding/Support: None declared.
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