An inverse relationship between smoking and COVID-19
A very common message that everyone has heard a million times before: "Quit Smoking." However, it is now being delivered with greater urgency during the current pandemic. Today, May 31st is No Tobacco Day, and it is the ideal time for smokers to kick the habit.
According to a World Health Organization review, smoking is linked to a higher risk of death in people who require hospital treatment for COVID-19. Also as per the UK study published in January 2021(1), smokers who contract coronavirus are more likely to visit the hospital than nonsmokers.
Important facts about smokers
According to a study, published in the journal Thorax(2),
· Smokers are more likely to get hospitalized
· 29% of individuals are more likely to report more than five symptoms of COVID-19
· 50% are more likely to report more than ten COVID-19 symptoms, including loss of smell, skipping meals, or muscle pain.
Intake of Tobacco puts smokers at risk for a variety of serious health problems, including cardiovascular and chronic lung diseases. People with these underlying health conditions have greater chances of being hospitalized or succumb to COVID-19. Smoking also affects the immune system, making smoker’s more susceptible to COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, "smoking impairs lung function, making it more difficult for the body to fight off corona virus and other diseases."
Smoking increases the likelihood of developing blood clots. The novel coronavirus can cause even more harm to a smoker's body because it floods the body with inflammatory cells that thicken your blood. COVID-19 also targets angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a protein found in the lining of the lungs that is more abundant in smokers.
The immediate benefits of quitting smoking
As per American Cancer Society(2), the following are the immediate benefits if you quit smoking today
· Elevated heart rate and blood pressure drop within 20 minutes of quitting.
· The carbon monoxide level in the bloodstream returns to normal after 12 hours.
· Circulation and lung function improve within 2 to 12 weeks.
· Coughing and shortness of breath subside after 1 to 12 months.
Studies have shown that your body begins to heal soon after you stop smoking. Within the first few weeks and months, your lungs begin to function better, and your risk of a heart attack decreases. Quitting smoking improves your health and can add years to your life.
There's never been a better time to kick the habit. Most people find quitting difficult, but it is a very small and important step you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(1) UK Research: https://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2021/02/07/thoraxjnl-2020-216422
(2) American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/benefits-of-quitting-smoking-over-time.html