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Covid-19 vaccine and smoking: All you need to know

Published on:1 May 2021, 17:02pm IST
There have been various studies doing the rounds, suggesting that smoking protects people from coronavirus; these are absolutely false. Instead, having a puff after taking a covid-19 jab might also be potentially harmful. Read on to know more.
Geetika Sachdev
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side-effects of smoking
Steer clear of smoking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Not too long ago, a survey conducted by the Council of Scientific Industrial Research found that smokers and vegetarians have a lower chance of contracting covid-19. The findings revealed that mucous production in smokers could serve as a protective barrier, thereby helping them to avoid the virus in more ways than one. Some other studies from France, Italy, New York and China reported the same, based on certain surveys. 

”The negative association with smoking has been reported elsewhere, but not shown to be causal. Further exploration is necessary before reaching any conclusions, especially since seropositivity is an imperfect marker of infection-risk and may equally well be explained by altered antibody response and dynamics,” CSIR clarified in a statement.

A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that assessed over 7,000 people who tested positive for covid-19, rubbished this claim.

Sorry to burst the bubble, but smoking is not a good idea — neither does it protect you from coronavirus, nor is it helpful post getting the jab. 

Here’s what smokers need to know

Remember most of the studies are not conclusive, and some evidence also points towards the fact that these are sponsored by tobacco lobbies in different parts of the world. In fact, the World Health Organisation cautions smokers, because they are at a higher risk of contracting covid-19, which is why it is essential for them to get vaccinated as soon as possible. That’s because they could find themselves suffering from serious repercussions.

Dr Joe Zein, a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic says that it is not surprising that smoking is associated with an increased risk of poor outcomes from covid. “Smoking induces structural changes in the respiratory tract and compromises people’s ability to mount appropriate immune and inflammatory responses (against infections),” he adds. 

Besides covid, smokers are more prone to other ailments, including heart diseases, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,and more. 

covid-19 and smoking
Smoking might seem enticing when you’re stressed, but it can increase the chances of you getting covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Is taking a puff after vaccination permitted?

Some health experts also recommend no smoking after taking the first jab, because it is said to reduce the antibody response. Instead, smokers can opt for alternative methods like a nicotine patch or gum. 

That’s because exposure to cigarette smoke impairs “the ability to form memory cells that are critical to the maintenance of the protective immune response induced by vaccines,” reveals a study.

Some studies also show that smoking cigarettes increases the risks for blood clots.

The same applies to alcohol, which is said to weaken immune response. Instead, people must remember a few things before and after getting a vaccination. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet and focus on hydrating foods. What’s more, sleep is equally important because even one night of bad sleep can weaken the immune system by 70 percent. 

The last word

Vaccine or no vaccine, we all know the harmful effects of smoking on our bodies. So, do not find an excuse to take a puff, because it’s anyway going to do more harm than good!

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.