The health-associated risks of smoking tobacco, including contracting Covid-19.

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The Relationship Between COVID-19 and Cigarettes

Whilst the long-term effects of Covid-19 are still unclear, the health risks for smokers are well-established and laid out on each cigarette packet.

 However, the relationship between Covid-19 and cigarettes is often overlooked despite an important correlation between the two: the risk of developing respiratory issues. A survey conducted in China found that smokers who contracted Covid-19 were more likely to develop severe disease whilst some supporting studies including a January 2021 BMJ journal, found that smoking increased the possibility of being admitted to intensive care, requiring ventilation and suffering long-term health consequences. This is because both smoking tobacco and Covid-19 attack the respiratory system. 

A study published by the World Health Organisation also highlighted the increased risk of serious symptoms and even death of smokers who also have underlying health issues such as cardiovascular diseases. The study states:

‘This relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular health is important because tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are major causes of CVDs globally. The effect of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system could thus make pre-existing cardiovascular conditions worse. Additionally, a weaker cardiovascular system among COVID-19 patients with a history of tobacco use could make such patients more vulnerable to severe symptoms, thereby increasing the risk for those patients.’

Unfortunately for smokers, the chances of contracting Covid-19 are also high due to the frequent hand to mouth movement smoking requires which creates an easy entry for the coronavirus. Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England said on the matter:

‘In light of this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to stop smoking. Not only for your own health but to protect those around you. It will also help alleviate the huge pressures on the NHS.’

The British Heart Foundation have also pleaded for smokers to quit at this time as ditching tobacco is proven to ‘reduce the severity of lung infections, and can prevent pneumonia and bronchitis developing.’ Within days of quitting smoking, you will be able to breathe better, and within weeks circulation will improve, thus a better ability to fight and keep infections and viruses including Covid-19 away.

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