Smoking And The Risk Of COVID-19 Infection

Smoking And The Risk Of COVID-19 Infection

The use of tobacco may increase the risk of developing symptoms of serious nature as a result of COVID-19. Initial research has not indicated that smoking can cause patients who have CVID19 to get sick more often or in need of assistance. There is no evidence that can tell us how likely it is a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 will require hospitalization due to smoking. Smokers have been found to constitute 1.4 to 18.5% of all hospitalized adult patients. Smoking has been associated with a raise in mortality rates among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. A scientific study shows that smoking can increase the severity of disease and heighten the risk of death among patients.

Smoking is the risk factor for many respiratory infectious conditions, including tuberculosis, influenza, and pneumonia. The harmful effects of smoking on the respiratory system make it highly probable that smokers will contract these diseases and thus, increase the severity of their illness. In addition, harm can be caused by COVID-19 as well to these organ systems.

Clinical cases from China have shown that individuals who have cardiovascular as well as respiratory diseases that have been caused as a result of the use of tobacco are at a high risk of the development of severe symptoms of COVID-19. The crude rate of fatality for patients with COVID-19 infection and systemic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer) is much higher when compared with individuals without these pre-existing medical ailments.

How does smoking increase the risk of COVID19 infection?

Risk of smoking
Risk of smoking

If an individual is a confirmed smoker then one is already dealing with diseases affecting the lungs. This makes one more vulnerable to sickness due to COVID-19 as it directly attacks the lungs. In case, a smoker has flu or any other infection exposure, one’s airways may get affected when compared to non-smokers. If one’s lungs have been already damaged, there might be a lesser capability for oxygenation or a defect in the way lungs should utilize oxygen. Any damage to the ciliary apparatus of the lungs makes it difficult for clearing the mucous outwards.

Smokers are likely to contract serious lung diseases like pneumonia. Smokers have a higher risk of developing complications. Many smokers suffer from acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. This complication is much more common in smokers who have diseases such as COPD and emphysema. They are also twice as likely to contract coronavirus and be hospitalized than non-smokers who contract coronavirus. Smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, or emphysema are three times as likely to die from coronavirus than non-smoker counterparts.

Can exposure to passive smoke increase the risk of COVID viral infection?

It is believed that non-viable droplets from the COVID-19 virus can travel up to 10 meters into electronic cigarette smoke.

risk of smoking
risk of smoking

The generation of second-hand smoke from cigarettes and e-cigarettes also can result in the transmission of coronavirus farther away. In addition to this, people do not wear masks when they are smoking or vaping. Thus, both smokers, as well as vapers, have a significantly high risk of contracting COVID-19 when compared to the general population.

Exposure to second-hand smoke has a detrimental effect on one’s health, in addition to this, the presence of COVID-19 droplets in tobacco smoke has potentially lethal effects. It has been found that exhaled vapors from e-cigarettes might have a higher potential for COVID19 spread. Smoke from both cigarettes and e-cigarettes is capable of transporting novel coronavirus that can travel from one person to another while being carried upon microscopic water vapor droplets that are exhaled from one’s lungs. Even the exhalation of a vaped cloud can expose an individual to large numbers of viral particles.

What are the preventive measures against COVID-19 for smokers?

There is sufficient evidence that suggests when one is isolated in their homes it increases the chance of smoking behavior. Governments should be more transparent about their smoking cessation campaigns. Governments should help their citizens with public health measures in order to tackle smoking. It’s been seen that smokers gather and share cigarettes, which aids in promoting the virus’s spread.

The maintenance of strict control measures for limiting cross-infection in smokers is a very difficult job. Both hands, as well as filters of cigarettes, have been contaminated by SARS-CoV-2. Smokers usually meet together in closed areas where they often chat, drink, or pass cigarettes to one another, which increases their risk of catching an infection. Also, cigarette/e-cigarette smoke can cause coughing or sneezing that produces excessive amounts of aerosols that contain the SARS-CoV-2. The infected aerosols remain suspended in the air for 3 hours as droplets or in the form of micro-aerosols or may survive on surfaces for hours to days.

Even in the presence of social distancing policies, individuals can still get infected. The use of smokeless tobacco products contributes to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This leads to individuals getting infected with the virus. Also, these products increase one’s risk for getting infected by a virus. It is best to use face masks when around people who are not experiencing symptoms so that they don’t pass on the virus even when they aren’t smoking or chewing tobacco.

Is treatment different for COVID non-smokers and COVID patients with smoking habits?

COVID-19 virus caused a number of chronic diseases in these patients and lead to the acceleration of their disease process. Individuals who use e-cigarettes or conventional cigarettes for one month before being infected with COVID-19 are 7 times more likely to be diagnosed. If you haven’t quit smoking due to pressure from your doctor, consider switching your dependence to vaping. If one observes chest X-rays, both vaping and COVID-19 show a lot of similarities.

It has been shown that cardiovascular diseases have a close relation to COVID-19. Thus, infection with COVID-19 over the cardiovascular system tends to exert worse effects on pre-existing cardiovascular diseases. Tobacco use and a history of cardiovascular disease can increase the risk of serious complications in COVID-19 patients. Visit Centric Healthcare for more healthcare-related blogs.

References

  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-tobacco#
  2. https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/smoking-and-covid-19