Does tobacco use increase your risk for severe COVID-19 infection?

COVID-19 frequently affects the lungs, causing lung damage. Do a history of smoking, vaping, or exposure to smoke and air pollution increase the probability of contracting COVID-19 or having a more severe case of COVID-19?

During the pandemic, you may have read news articles suggesting that smokers are less likely to contract coronavirus, while some claim that smoking raises the chance of severe sickness from the virus.

While research on the link between smoking and Covid is still emerging, the adverse health effects of smoking outweigh any potential benefits.

We have investigated the most recent research on smoking and Covid-19 and addressed some frequently posed questions.

Does smoking increase the chance of Covid severity?

Yes. According to a review conducted by the World Health Organization, smoking is connected with more severe diseases and an increased risk of death among patients hospitalized for Covid-19.

According to a January 2021 study published in the United Kingdom, current smokers with coronavirus are twice as likely to visit the hospital and report more symptoms than nonsmokers. Researchers from Imperial College London, King’s College London, and ZOE (a health symptom tracking app) analyzed data from 2.4 million self-reported symptoms and test findings from the United Kingdom.

In what ways does smoking raise the risk?

Numerous major health issues include coronary heart and circulatory disorders, chronic lung disease, and diabetes. We know that persons with these preexisting disorders are significantly more likely to be hospitalized or die if they contract coronavirus.

In addition to harming your lungs and immune system, smoking increases your susceptibility to respiratory infections. According to the World Health Organization, smoking reduces lung function, making it more difficult for the body to combat coronaviruses and other infections.

Are smokers more or less susceptible to Covid-19 infection?

We do not know definitively if smokers are more prone to contract coronavirus, but we do know that they are more likely to develop severe Covid-19 infections. On the one hand, early papers stated that smoking could raise your risk of infection because smokers are more likely to touch their face and lips.

In contrast, a new evidence assessment by London researchers reveals that current smokers may have a lower risk of contracting coronavirus. According to one study, this may be due to nicotine’s interference with ACE2 receptors, which may inhibit the virus from entering cells. The researchers stated that additional scientific research is required to comprehend these contradictory results, as the connection is currently unclear.

What You Can Do If You Smoke or Have Smoked in the Past

Stop smoking immediately if you haven’t already. Remember that many people successfully stop after multiple attempts. Consult with your health care provider; counseling, apps, and even medicine can aid in your efforts to quit smoking. “At the Tobacco Treatment Clinic, we recognize that a person’s dependence on tobacco is a medical issue, and we handle it accordingly,”. We believe in support and encouragement rather than trying to intimidate or embarrass patients.

The same holds for vaping and e-cigarette use: the coronavirus epidemic is an ideal moment to quit. If you use nicotine-containing vapes or electronic cigarettes, you should work with your doctor to kick the habit.

If you used to smoke or vape, avoid picking up the habit again. While the coronavirus pandemic prevents you from engaging in your usual activities, you should develop healthier stress management and wellness habits.

Get immunized. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has authorized several COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in particular age groups (FDA). Johns Hopkins Medicine considers all authorized COVID-19 vaccines extremely effective at preventing COVID-19-related severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Learn more about the safety of coronavirus vaccines and what you should know about COVID vaccines

Be especially vigilant for coronavirus symptoms and consult a physician if you become ill.

Can cigarettes and e-cigarettes spread the coronavirus?

Possibly. Smokers and e-cigarette users must remove their facial masks before smoking or vaping. Therefore, even between puffs, if unknowingly infected with the coronavirus, they may exhale contagious droplets and aerosols that surrounding individuals could ingest.

Secondhand cigarette smoke is known to create health problems, and while there is no scientific evidence that it can transmit the coronavirus and cause COVID-19, it is at least theoretically possible. According to research, secondhand smoke can drive viruses into the air through the nose and throat.

As the users exhale potentially infectious vapors, e-cigarettes also produce secondhand “smoke.” “E-cigarettes produce aerosols. Therefore, they may pose an even greater threat to the transmission of the coronavirus than conventional cigarettes,”

Smoking or vaping inside is significantly riskier. Without ventilation, pathogenic droplets and particles can accumulate in a closed area, putting others at risk.

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