Close to one third of young US adults appear to have an elevated risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with smoking their strongest risk factor, according to survey data.
Researchers looked at data from more than 8,000 participants, ages 18 to 25, in the nationally representative National Health Interview Survey for 2016 to 2018.
They also looked at participants' medical conditions identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as making people of any age "medically vulnerable" to severe illness from the coronavirus.
Among these are diabetes, heart disease, immune problems, smoking, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and respiratory diseases. Overall, 32% of the young adults surveyed were seen as medically vulnerable to severe COVID-19.
Among non-smoking young adults, however, only 16% were seen as medically vulnerable.
"Efforts to reduce smoking and e-cigarette use among young adults would likely reduce their medical vulnerability to severe illness," the researchers said on Monday in the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
"Our analysis suggests that risk from smoking and e-cigarette use is highest among young adults who are male, white, and lower income and who are fully or partially uninsured." -- Reuters