People who reported smoking or vaping prior to their hospitalisation for Covid-19 were more likely than their counterparts, who did not smoke or vape, to experience severe complications, including death, from the SARS-CoV-2 infection, finds a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, indicate smoking or vaping are associated with more severe Covid-19 independent of age, sex, race or medical history.People who reported smoking were 45 per cent more likely to die and 39 per cent more likely to receive mechanical ventilation when compared with those who did not smoke.
"In general, people who smoke or vape tend to have a higher prevalence of other health conditions and risk factors that could play a role in how they are impacted by Covid-19," said Aruni Bhatnagar, Professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville in the US.
"However, the robust and significant increase in the risk of severe Covid-19 seen in our study, independent of medical history and medication use and particularly among young individuals, underscores the urgent need for extensive public health interventions such as anti-smoking campaigns and increased access to cessation therapy, especially in the age of Covid," she added.
Researchers examined data on 4,086 people over 18 years of age who were hospitalised with Covid between January 2020 to March 2021.Smoking status was self-reported and people were classified as smoking if they reported currently using either traditional, combustible cigarettes or e-cigarette products, with no distinction between the two and no information on duration of smoking or former smoking status.
"The findings provide the clearest evidence to date that people who smoke or vape have a higher risk of developing severe Covid-19 and dying as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection."