COVID Death Rate 'Higher for Smokers'

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    September 14, 2021 12:57

    Smokers have a 59-percent higher chance than non-smokers of severe COVID-19 symptoms and a 19-percent higher chance of dying, a study published on BMC Public Health suggests.

    People who had smoked in the past also have a higher chance of getting infected, according to the study, which is based on analysis of 46 peer-reviewed papers.

    Out of 22,939 COVID-19 patients in the study, 23.6 percent or 5,421 patients had severe enough symptoms to require hospitalization and over half of them or 2,914 either are or were smokers.

    Some 33.5 percent of patients with a history of smoking became seriously ill, compared to 21.9 percent of non-smokers. That would mean that smokers are 1.59 time more prone to severe illness and 1.19 times more likely to die.

    Interestingly, it was younger smokers under 45 who were more likely to become severely ill.

    Another study in the Journal of Adolescent Health has shown that teens and young adults aged 13 to 24 who vape were five times more vulnerable to infection than those who did not, while those who both vaped and smoked cigarettes were seven times more likely to get infected.

    "Smoking causes people to touch their mouth frequently, which raises the chances of the virus spreading to the mouth and respiratory tract, while toxic substances in cigarettes reduce the immunity of lungs and blood vessels," a Health and Safety Ministry official said.

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