Your Covid-19 question answered

Could I get more sick from Covid-19 if I smoke cigarettes?

26 August 2021 - 07:02 By unathi nkanjeni
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of more severe illness from Covid-19, which could result in hospitalisation, the need for intensive care, or even death.
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of more severe illness from Covid-19, which could result in hospitalisation, the need for intensive care, or even death.
Image: 123RF/GIN SANDERS

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of more severe illness from Covid-19, which could result in hospitalisation, the need for intensive care, or even death. 

This is according to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recent update, comparing smokers and those who've never smoked.

“Smoking cigarettes can cause inflammation and cell damage throughout the body, and can weaken your immune system, making it less able to fight off disease,” said the FDA. 

SO WHAT ABOUT E-CIGARETTES THEN?

The administration said e-cigarette use can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of getting Covid-19 or the severity of Covid-19 outcomes is not known.

“However, many e-cigarette users are current or former smokers, and cigarette smoking increases the risk of respiratory infections, including pneumonia,” said the FDA. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) found smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases. 

“Tobacco is also a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes which put people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by Covid-19. 

“Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death,” said the WHO. 

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