What the NHS says about the risk of coronavirus for people who smoke and vape


Public Health Wales has found that smokers – and their families – are “at increased risk” of catching Covid-19.

The admission comes as the coronavirus continues to pose challenges to health officials and governments around the world – with more than a million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide.

It was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 and has since reached more than 180 countries, including the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced preventive measures against the virus last month, introducing social distancing – essentially locking the country out for the foreseeable future.

Those with underlying health conditions, in particular, have been asked to protect themselves because their weakened immune systems make them more likely to get the virus – and later more unfavorable health problems.

There is evidence to suggest that smokers and vapers are also at increased risk for development, so North Wales Live investigated the matter to find out more.

Does smoking increase the risk of coronavirus?

Cigarettes were responsible for the fires that have killed or injured more than 50 people in North Wales in the past five years
Cigarette smoking has been linked to an increased risk of catching a coronavirus – and then experiencing health problems

Concerns have been expressed about the risk posed to smokers since the coronavirus was first identified in the UK earlier this year.

More recently, Keir Lewis, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Swansea, warned that many smokers are at higher risk as they likely already have preexisting lung conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). ).

As revealed by ITV News, Professor Lewis explained that in addition to the increased risk, smokers are also more likely to suffer from other health problems due to the contraction of a coronavirus.

He explained, “It seems that if you have respiratory illness, you are more likely to develop viral pneumonia from Covid-19.

“However, due to the effects of smoking on your body’s immune responses and natural defenses, it is likely that smokers will be at greater risk regardless of whether they have other lungs or other medical conditions. “

Professor Lewis said, however, that the lung defenses can actually start to heal in a matter of days – so even quitting smoking now could significantly improve a smoker’s ability to defend themselves and recover from such an infection.

Preliminary research on the coronavirus seems to support his claims, with a recent academic journal documenting the effect of smoking on confirmed cases in China.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that current smokers make up 26% of patients who ended up in intensive care or died from the virus.

This is perhaps surprising, since the elderly have become more synonymous, in the context of discussions on coronaviruses, with treatment in intensive care units.

Does vaping increase the risk of coronavirus?

Some experts say there is evidence to suggest that vapers should be concerned about coronavirus

Some researchers have also warned of the potential risks associated with vaping, also linked to coronavirus.

As reported by the Mirror, some experts suggest that vaping suppresses immune function in the lungs – although this has not yet been demonstrated by studies specifically on the coronavirus.

In addition, science advisor Tom McLean recently said that the “respiratory droplets” in the clouds created by vaping products can actually spread the virus.

Speaking to the Glasgow Times, he said, “Blowing steam is as good as someone spitting in your face.

“The vapor itself contains respiratory droplets, including saliva, mucus and bacteria and when expelled, it travels a long distance and hangs in the air at head level. “

Nanotera chief scientist McLean also said there is evidence that vaping causes a weakened immune system.

What did the NHS say?

Health officials generally warn of the risks of smoking and vaping

North Wales Live asked Pulic Health Wales, an NHS agency, if smokers and vapers are at increased risk.

A spokesperson found that smoking not only puts the individual at “increased risk of developing serious illness” from Covid-19, but also puts people exposed to second-hand smoke at increased risk – including children .

It has been noted that the repetitive hand-to-mouth movement involved in smoking is an “easy entry route for the virus” – which puts smokers at greater risk of contracting it.

The spokesman added, “The evidence clearly shows that the Covid-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, which is why smokers are more at risk.

“A small, very powerful Chinese survey reveals that smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop a serious illness. “

Ashley Gould, Public Health Consultant and Tobacco Control Officer at Public Health Wales, said, “In light of this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to quit smoking. .

“Not only for your own health, but to protect those around you. “

We were also told that this would help “ease the enormous pressure on the NHS”.

Anyone who wants to quit smoking is encouraged to get advice and assistance from NHS experts on quitting smoking – by calling 0800 085 2219 or through the Help Me Quit online services.

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