The study of a large Paris hospital suggests that a substance in tobacco – perhaps nicotine – could prevent patients who smoke from catching Covid-19. Nicotine patch clinical trials await approval from health officials across the country.
However, the researchers insisted that they did not encourage people to smoke, which poses other potentially fatal health risks and kills 50% of those who do. Although nicotine can protect those from the virus, smokers who get it often develop more severe symptoms due to the toxic effect of tobacco smoke on the lungs, they say.
The Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital team interviewed a total of 480 patients who tested positive for the virus, of whom 350 were hospitalized while the rest with less severe symptoms were able to return home.
It found that among those admitted to the hospital, whose median age was 65, only 4.4% were regular smokers. Among those released, with a median age of 44, 5.3% smoked.