Smoking and vaping are being actively studied as possible risk factors for COVID-19. A recent review of five studies from China found that smokers are more likely to be admitted to intensive care and to need mechanical ventilation compared with non-smokers. Other studies propose that the higher death rate from COVID-19 among men compared with women may be due to the higher rates of smoking among men. Vaping is less studied, but early indications are that a number of compounds in vaping, including nicotine, may increase the likelihood for lung problems.
While these studies are not definitive, the likelihood of increased risk for COVID-19 among smokers makes sense. Smoking can lower immunity for other illnesses and make it harder to fight infections; for example, smokers have twice the risk of getting the flu than non-smokers. Smoking has been found to increase risks related to SARS, which is another coronavirus. Smoking affects the lungs’ natural defenses by partially immobilizing cilia, the hair-like structures on cells which function to clear the lungs from irritants. Also, smoking is a well-known cause for major lung problems like emphysema and lung cancer.
Stopping smoking is the best single thing that you can do for your health. Now, it may be more important than ever. If you are still smoking, now is a good time to stop. If you have stopped, take the steps you need to avoid relapse.
For more information on Smoking and COVID 19 Scientific American has published a very good article which you can find at the following link. Smoking or Vaping May Increase the Risk of a Severe Coronavirus Infection - Scientific American
Michael V. Burke, Ed.D