Experts have warned that tobacco users are at a potential risk factor for COVID-19 infection with severe manifestations.
They warn that smokers who have pre-existing comorbidities of the heart or lungs are at higher risk.
The study, as published variously in preprint editions of online journals, note that smokers are affected more severely by colds and flu, and that years of smoking can lead to a type of lung failure known as emphysema, which is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A study published in the New Scientist suggests that smoking is more common among people who get sickest and die of the global pandemic.
The New Scientist reports that a recent study looked at the health records of 17 million adults in England to establish risk factors linked with dying from COVID-19, noting that, “The results for smoking change depending on which other risk factors are included.
“But the most logical analysis, adjusting for age and sex only, finds smokers at a somewhat higher risk of dying from covid-19,” the journal stated, referencing a Reader in Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London, Nick Hopkinson.
In the same vein, online journal, Respiratory Medicine, states that tobacco use in all forms, whether smoking or chewing, is significantly associated with severe COVID-19 outcomes.
According to the study, titled, Tobacco use as a well-recognized cause of severe COVID-19 manifestations, pre-existing comorbidities in tobacco users such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and hypertension were found to further aggravate the disease manifestations, making the treatment of such COVID-19 patients more challenging due to their rapid clinical deterioration.
Study lead, Alpana Kumar Gupta, formerly of the Division of Preventive Oncology, National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Department of Health Research, India, states that, “Current review indicates that nicotine exposure is linked to cardiopulmonary vulnerability to COVID-19 and tobacco use can be a potential risk factor for not only getting the viral infection but also its severe manifestations.”
Another study published online by Oxford Academic in online journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, states that evidence of the effects of smoking on respiratory infections and the immune system in general were examined and the current understanding of tobacco products and risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of COVID-19 is addressed.
The study, led by Jonathan M Samet of the Colorado School of Public Health, is titled, ‘Tobacco Products and the Risks of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19.’
The authors say that use of tobacco products has also been examined as a determinant of the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the prognosis of COVID-19.
“If use of tobacco products increases risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and poor outcomes from COVID-19, the juxtaposition of the two pandemics — tobacco products and COVID-19— represents an opportunity to reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 through tobacco control.”
The authors, however, say that the evidence remains incomplete and that “much of it exists in the form of preprints that have not been peer-reviewed.”
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