By Tony Winterburn • 25 July 2020 • 13:29
The science is there, so just why do smokers and vapers, and anyone close, face higher danger from Covid-19?
A new report casts doubt on early claims smoking offered protection from the disease.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many smokers thought they had little to worry about as there was a sliver of good news for them: a study circulating on social media suggested smoking could be associated with a lower risk of contracting Covid-19. After months of studies, however, scientists now know that is not the full story.
According to Dr Michael Matthay, the associate director of critical care medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), the answer is YES – although it is not currently known exactly to what extent.
“Based on prior studies with other pulmonary infections, both bacterial and viral, it is highly likely that cigarette smoking and vaping will increase the risk of coronavirus pneumonia and increase its severity, though we don’t know to what extent,” he said.
Experts have also pointed to a 2019 study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which found that 47.6 per cent of men in China smoke, to show a possible link between smoking and coronavirus – after China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more men were contracting and dying from coronavirus than women.
“Among Chinese patients diagnosed with Covid-19 associated pneumonia, the odds of disease progression (including leading to death) were 14 times higher among people with a history of smoking compared to those who did not smoke. This was the strongest risk factor among those examined,” the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education said.
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