Covid and smokers: WHO indicates they are at serious risk

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The World Health Organization periodically reviews studies, including those related to smoking, nicotine use, and the coronavirus. The latest work suggests that the risk of a severe form of Covid-19 is higher among smokers.

The coronavirus pandemic, still active in 187 countries, has affected almost 4.2 million people in just a few months, of which around 300,000 have died. Smoking, meanwhile, kills more than 8 million people each year worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 7 million of these deaths are caused by direct smoking and 1.2 million by passive smoking.

These uncomfortable numbers increase fear of the worst when presented side by side. Many scientists have tried to understand the link between smoking and Covid-19 virus infection. To solve the problem, health experts met on April 29, 2020, at the request of the WHO.

Tobacco weakens lung function

After analyzing different studies, they concluded that smokers are at greater risk of contracting a severe form of the coronavirus than nonsmokers. In fact, smoking is a risk factor that worsens respiratory diseases. And Covid-19 is a disease that mainly affects the lungs. "Smoking weakens lung function, making the body less resistant to coronaviruses and other pathogens," said the WHO.

Smoking is also linked to other diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory conditions, and diabetes. When a person already suffers from a chronic pathology, they are more at risk of developing a severe form of the coronavirus.

No protective effect of nicotine

The institution also calls for caution regarding "unsubstantiated claims that tobacco or nicotine may reduce the risk of Covid-19." The information available at this time is insufficient to suggest any form of prevention or treatment.

Smokers are encouraged to take steps to quit through telephone, internet or SMS support services and nicotine replacement products. After two to twelve weeks of stopping, lung function increases, and after one to nine months of stopping, cough and shortness of breath decrease. Enough to put aside the odds the serious consequences in case of contracting the virus.

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