Research shows that smokers generally face a higher risk of contracting respiratory tract infections, like lung and chest infections so it makes sense that, because the coronavirus is a respiratory disease, smoking might increase your chances of contracting a severe case of the virus.
One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 1,099 patients in China with COVID-19. It showed that of 173 patients who had severe symptoms, 16.9% of them were current smokers. The study concluded that, in a group of patients that were either admitted to an intensive care unit, needed mechanical ventilation, or ultimately died - 25.5% were smokers.
There’s more to it than that, though - the simple act of bringing a cigarette to your mouth means you are touching your lips with your hands and a (possibly) contaminated cigarette. This further increases your risk of contracting coronavirus.
Besides facing a higher risk of infection, smoking can cause a range of other long- and short-term health problems including lung, mouth, or throat cancer, heart disease, stroke and more. So, now that the sale of cigarettes has been banned during the lockdown period, there has never been a better time to quit.
If you need some help quitting, call the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) QUIT Line at 011 720 3145 or send an email to [email protected] to start your journey to better health.
Better yet, sign up for CANSA's e-Kick Butt programme - it’s FREE.