A new study found that roughly one-third of young adults are medically vulnerable to developing severe complications from COVID-19. The most significant risk factor appeared to be smoking. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, reviewed the answers of 8,400 people ages 18 to 25 who participated in the National Health Interview Survey and compared them with risk indicators of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Those risk factors include heart conditions, diabetes, asthma, immune conditions, liver conditions, obesity, and smoking.
They found that 32% of the group was at risk of being hospitalized or needing intensive care because of the coronavirus. When they removed smokers from the list, the percentage of at-risk people dropped to 16%.
"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. "Smoking may have significant effects in young adults, who typically have low rates for most chronic diseases."
The researchers said one way to decrease your risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19 is to quit smoking.
"The risk of being medically vulnerable to severe disease is halved when smokers are removed from the sample," said senior author Charles Irwin Jr. "Efforts to reduce smoking and e-cigarette use among young adults would likely lower their vulnerability to severe disease."
Photo: Getty Images