Bad news for smokers! EU health agency says smoking puts you at a higher risk of covid-19

Updated on:26 March 2020, 10:49am IST
Elderly and people with low immunity are most affected due to coronavirus and now the European Union says that if you smoke then you can also be targeted.
Reuters
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Quit smoking now to fight coronavirus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Coronavirus directly attacks your lungs and if you smoke then it means that your lungs won’t be strong enough to fight back this virus. The result? You getting infected real soon. And unfortunately, the chances of recovery are also very low. 

Smoking can make people more susceptible to serious complications from a coronavirus infection, the European Union’s health agency said on Wednesday, citing scientific studies, although available data is still limited.

vaping cannot help in quitting smoking
Even vaping can make you vulnerable to coronavirus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Smokers are vulnerable to coronavirus
In its updated assessment of the risks caused by the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) included smokers among those potentially most vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

It also said data from China showed 80% of people infected with the disease had only mild symptoms, but in Europe, that percentage dropped to 70%, as three in every 10 cases have required hospitalisation. 

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Patients above 70 years of age and people with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Men are more vulnerable than women, the EU body said in its report.

Smokers have also appeared to be more susceptible to breathing complications caused by the disease, and the ECDC said it was advisable to identify them as a potential vulnerable group, confirming an earlier assessment.

Acute smokers are dying more than elderly, says researcher
The agency cited a study by Chinese doctors which on a sample of 99 patients affected by the coronavirus found that acute smokers were more at risk of dying than elderly people.

The ECDC report also said smoking was associated with heightened activity in the lungs of an enzyme, ACE2, that could make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19, citing a study conducted by Guoshuai Cai, from the University of South Carolina.

The activity of ACE2, or angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, also increases with age and with some kinds of hypertension treatment – both risk factors – the ECDC said.

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The study, also based on a small sample, concluded that smokers may be more susceptible to the virus.

It added that former smokers appeared to be more at risk than current smokers because the enzyme was more active in different cells in former smokers.  

Here we have got you another reason to quit smoking. And god forbid if you are found to be coronavirus positive then your cigarette can prove to be lethal for your entire family as you can transmit this virus to them as well. So, drop that butt now.

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