Smokers are 14 TIMES more likely to develop coronavirus, health bosses warn – The Sun

SMOKERS are 14 times more likely to develop coronavirus, health bosses have warned.

Public Health England (PHE) say that puffing cigarettes can also put family members at higher risk of Covid-19 too.

Professor John Newton, PHE's director of health, said that in light of the "unprecedented" pandemic sweeping the globe, "there has never been a more important time to stop smoking, not only for your own health but to protect those around you".

Smoking can cause damage to the lungs and airways – and Covid-19 attacks the respiratory system, health officials say.

They also point to a "small but highly impactful" survey from China which finds that smokers with Covid-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe disease.

The study looked at the factors which led to the progression of Covid-19 pneumonia in patients at three hospitals in Wuhan, China – where the first cases of coronavirus were detected late last year.


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A "history of smoking" was among the factors which were identified by the study which took place between December 30 last year and January 15.

Age, maximum body temperature on admission and respiratory failure were among other notable factors, according to the study, which was published in the Chinese Medical Journal.

These results "can be used to further enhance the ability of management of Covid-19 pneumonia", it concluded.

It has been reported that more than 3,300 people have died of Covid-19 in China.

PHE also says the virus is given an easy route of entry by the repetitive hand to mouth movement used by smokers.

Prof Newton told smokers that "it is never too late to quit, no matter your age" and the body will continue to repair the longer you stay smoke-free.

The elimination of carbon monoxide from the body is among the immediate benefits of quitting smoking.

People should find that their lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris, PHE says.

It is never too late to quit, no matter your age

Breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax after 72 hours of quitting smoking and blood circulation improves, making physical activity like walking and running easier within 12 weeks of giving up the habit.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “Now, more than ever, smokers can help themselves, their families and their communities by quitting.

"There is a raft of help that smokers can still access.

"Stop smoking services are moving to provide telephone support, and pharmacists can provide advice on medications, but if you can’t find help locally get advice online from the Todayistheday website, and through the nightly Quit Clinic on Twitter using #QuitForCovid."


The first two patients to die at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, detailed in the Lancet Medical journal, were both long-term smokers.

Researchers from China and the US carried out an analysis of the first 8,000 cases of coronavirus.

They found that men were more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and suffer severe symptoms, including pneumonia.

Their findings also revealed that the survival rates between males and females were markedly different.

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In the first six weeks of the outbreak 1.7 per cent of women died compared with 2.8 per cent of men.

Experts believe there are a few reasons for this discrepancy, including some biological and other lifestyle choices, such as smoking.

In China, men are much more likely to smoke than women, which can lead to a weaker immune system.

In fact China has the largest population of smokers in the world – accounting for nearly a third of the world's smokers – but just two per cent of them are women.

Meanwhile, in the UK 16.5 per cent of men – around 3.9 million – and 13 per cent of women – around 3.2 million – reported being current smokers.

The study showed that being an older male is another risk, with almost 10 per cent of infected men over the age of 60 succumbing to the disease.

Men were also disproportionately affected during the SARS and MERS outbreaks – which were caused by similar coronaviruses.

More women were infected by SARS in Hong Kong in 2003, but the death rate was 50 per cent higher, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome killed 32 percent of men infected compared with 25.8 per cent of women.

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