Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The new virus was subsequently named the “COVID-19 virus”.Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness
Tobacco kills more than 8 million people globally every year. Tobacco smoking is known for causing many respiratory infections and respiratory diseases. A study by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. 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.
WHO is constantly evaluating new research, including research that examines the link between tobacco use, nicotine use, and COVID-19. WHO urges researchers, scientists and the media to be cautious about amplifying unproven claims that tobacco or nicotine could reduce the risk of COVID-19. There is currently insufficient information to confirm any link between tobacco or nicotine in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Water pipe smoking is also found common in many parts of the world. Since water pipe smoking is typically an activity that takes place within groups in public settings and waste pipe use increases the risk of transmission of diseases, it could also encourage the transmission of COVID-19 in social gatherings.
Smokers have ACE 2 expression in their pneumocystis in the lungs many research papers have published the link between the ACE 2 and COVID- 19. The S protein of the SARS COV 2 has a great affinity towards the ACE 2 found in the small airways of the lungs in smokers. Hence smokers may have a severe respiratory illness when affected with COVID 19.
Tobacco smokers (cigarettes, water pipes, bidis, cigars, heated tobacco products) may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) with the lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth.
- Dr. Aishwarya MBBS, MD-Pulmonary Medicine, Consultant-Pulmonary Medicine