What you need to know:
- Over half of all smokers have up to 10 symptoms of Covid-19.
- So far, the risk of severe complications has been higher in older people and people with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes.
People who smoke are likely to report increased symptoms of Covid-19.
In addition, these people are more likely to go to hospital due to Covid-19 than nonsmokers.
This is according to a new study that examined the association between smoking and the severity of Covid-19 on patients. The study was conducted by the UK-based university, King’s College London.
“Tobacco smoking is a significant risk factor for both viral and bacterial infections of the respiratory system. Smokers are five times as likely to develop influenza and twice as likely to develop pneumonia. These risks are now including the worsening of Sars-Cov-2 and the overwhelming Covid-19 hospital burden,” said Dr Mario Falchi, the lead researcher in the study.
The findings showed that people who smoke have a higher symptom burden than those who did not. Over half of all smokers have up to 10 symptoms of Covid-19. These include the leading triad of breathlessness, fever and persistent cough, and the secondary set of symptoms such as diarrhoea, loss of smell, fatigue, lack of appetite, confusion and muscle pain.
These symptoms result in smokers suffering from severe Covid-19. “Smokers are at increased risk of suffering from a wider range of Covid-19 symptoms. Current smokers who test positive for Covid-19 are more than twice as likely as nonsmokers to attend a hospital,” said Dr Falchi.
Apart from aggravating severity and symptoms, smoking was associated with higher risk of infection due to the hand to mouth movements that smoking entails.
In their final report, published in the journal Thorax, the researchers recommended that a smoking cessation strategy should be installed as part of measures to control the Covid-19 disease.
“Authorities should consider controlling smoking and advocating against smoking as part of the measures to address Covid-19,” said Dr Falchi.
So far, the risk of severe complications has been higher in older people and people with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes.