Smokers at increased risk of developing Covid-19 complications, say doctors

A new study shows smokers are twice as likely to have severe symptoms as compared to those who do not smoke

FILE PHOTO: A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture, September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Illustration/File Photo

Doctors have warned smokers are at a greater risk of developing coronavirus complications and are twice as likely to suffer severe symptoms than non-smokers.

A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine said smokers are 2.4 times more likely to have severe symptoms as compared to those who do not smoke.

It suggests that tobacco use is associated with a poor prognosis of Covid-19 and more serious results.

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Damaged lung function is a symptom of coronavirus so it leaves smokers and e-cigarettes users even more vulnerable to infection

Smokers are more likely to be admitted to intensive care units, may need ventilator support and have a higher chance of dying.

Dr Mohammed Rafique, a pulmonologist at Prime Hospital in Dubai, who specialises in helping smokers quit, said he has seen more people come to him during the pandemic.

“As smoking impairs lung capacity and because of the inflammation we see in smokers and e-cigarette users, it has not been a good picture for them during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“It is clear, damaged lung function is a symptom of the coronavirus so it leaves smokers and e-cigarettes users even more vulnerable to infection.

“In some of our patients who have smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we have seen them become more vulnerable to severe symptoms of Covid-19.”

Dr Rafique said the pandemic has given smokers even more reason to kick the habit, but refused to endorse the use of e-cigarettes for anything other than as an aid to quit altogether.